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Sam Penrod ReportingLast month's fatal van crash involving students from Utah State is now under federal scrutiny. The National Transportation Safety Board is looking into the crash.
The NTSB is looking into similarities between the Utah State accident and two other bad crashes involving 15 passenger vans. Both happened in 2001, one in Texas and the other in North Carolina. And, just like in the Utah State accident, these other two accidents also had a left rear tire blow, which was a factor in all three rollovers.
The reason why the Utah State van crashed back on September 26th is still under investigation by the Utah Highway Patrol. However, investigators have said that the van was going 95 to 100- miles an hour when it crashed and ejected everyone inside.
The NTSB will compare this accident with the accidents in Texas and North Carolina, which both involved vans owned by local churches. In those two cases, poor tire condition and maintenance was blamed on causing the tires to blow, but both vans were traveling close to the posted speed limit.
In the Texas crash four people were killed, and in the North Carolina accident one person died. The Utah State crash had the worst human toll, killing the driver and eight of ten passengers.
When the NTSB finishes its investigation in several months, its findings will be shared with several government agencies that regulate highway safety, as well as with the manufacturers of similar vehicles. The end result is to help identify safety problems and eliminate future tragedies.