The State of Georgia has paid the maximum legal amount possible, $3 million, to settle the claims by families of the victims of the 2007 wreck of the Bluffton University baseball team bus wreck, which killed seven and injured 28. State law limits Georgia’s liability to $3 million per occurrence, no matter how many are killed or injured. National Transportation Safety Board investigators said the bus driver thought he was staying in an HOV lane on Interstate 75 when he drove onto an exit ramp just north of Atlanta, running through a stop sign at highway speed and off of a bridge at the top of the ramp.
Five baseball players, the driver and his wife were killed in the crash. The state, in the rush to install HOV signs before the 1996 Olympic Games, left an important road sign off the HOV exit where the bus crashed. The sign they moved from the exit would have pointed out the continuing HOV lane. The National Transportation Safety Board found last year that the bus driver meant to take that lane, but mistakenly turned into the exit lane. NTSB investigators harshly criticized Georgia’s HOV signs, and the crash led to revamped federal guidelines for HOV signs nationwide. Georgia’s new signs are under contract and should start going up this summer, according to a DOT spokesman. The NTSB released recommendations in August urging more clear and consistent highway signs.
Source: Associated Press and The Atlanta-Journal Constitution
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