It also got me thinking how totally reliant we are on the competence of others to keep us safe while traveling – even if we’re not driving.
For example, there was a terrible bus crash yesterday in Southern California. Seems like the brakes may have failed. The bus was 17-years-old and had a history of brake and maintenance problems. Writes the Associated Press:
The bus that was carrying 38 people from the popular Big Bear Lake resort area in the San Bernardino National Forest was slapped with eight violations by safety inspectors in October, for problems ranging from fluid leaks to an improperly installed battery, according Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data reviewed Monday. According to the records, the bus was flagged for brake issues in at least three inspections since October 2011.
The cause of Sunday's crash is unclear, but early information pointed to a brake problem. Driver Norberto B. Perez told investigators the vehicle lost its brakes while traveling down the winding, two-lane road. Passengers reported Perez saying the brakes weren't working as he tried to maintain control before the bus hit a sedan, flipped and plowed into a pickup truck hauling a trailer. …
Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a Washington-based advocacy group, said the crash points to the need for improved roof strength and other safety measures.
"We have a long way to go before we can say boarding a motor coach is as safe as boarding an airplane," she said. Bus passengers "are often riding blindfolded."
Interesting analogy Gillian makes. Speaking of planes, you may have heard about the grounding of Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets three weeks ago because, it seems, its lithium batteries overheat and cause fires just like they do on your laptop computers and cell phones. (Shouldn’t someone have figured this problem out by now?)
We have also learned that Japan Airlines may ask Boeing to compensate them for having to ground their jets, which they say is costing them about $ 8 million.
Oh, and Boeing has asked to start flying again. Think I'll stay home.