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Another Super Shuttle Crash Prompts 2nd Look At Safety Improvements

5:45 PM, Jul 19, 2012   |    comments
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  • Photo by Cheryl Engel
    

(WUSA) -- The six passengers in a Super Shuttle van never made it to the Dulles Airport on Wednesday afternoon. The driver hit a barrier then crashed into an Audi. Five people were injured, including one woman who had to flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital.

The wreck is reminiscent of a Super Shuttle crash last August that killed human rights activist Suvash Darnal.

The driver in that crash was charged with reckless driving and a 9News Now investigation revealed that in the previous months, the company had apparently recorded him speeding 66 times. Several drivers also told us that fatigue is a constant problem because they often work 16-24 hours straight.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission regulates Washington Shuttle, Inc., which runs the Super Shuttle vans to and from National and Dulles airports. The fatal crash, along with the 9News Now investigation, prompted the commission to launch an investigation into Super Shuttle. On March 1, 2012, WMATC gave Super Shuttle an "Unsatisfactory" safety rating. If the company did not take steps to improve that rating, it would be "required to cease operating commercial motor vehicles in the Metropolitan District," according to the WMATC order n. 13,334.

Bill Morrow, The Executive Director of the Transit commission says Super Shuttle has corrected many of its problems, including keeping track of its drivers' hours.

Morrow said the company responded immediately and took necessary steps to improve safety. He said he sees nothing that would keep him from taking a Super Shuttle van.

But current Super Shuttle franchisee Abdelkader Iskalen says there are still problems with fatigue because drivers are working too many hours. He says they are forced to work 12-16 hour days to cover gas, maintenance costs, and fees to Super Shuttle.

Federal law does allow the drivers to be on duty 15 hours a day, and permits them to drive for a maximum of 10 hours day.

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