However, NTSB also discovered the warning lights and anti-lock brake system had been deliberately disconnected and the wiring gathered in a loop for an unknown reason.
The NTSB found Valli had been cited for 11 speeding violations over the past 10 years but less than half were known to John Davis because the firm only checked his Nevada background. The probe also determined Valli had 30 different employers over the past 10 years but didn’t include at least two that had terminated him on his John Davis application.
As a result, the board recommended Tuesday that commercial motor carriers be required to conduct and document investigations into driver histories for the 10 years prior to their application for employment.
Among other things, the panel also recommended the development of side-impact worthiness standards to minimum encroachment into rail cars and requiring passenger rail car doors to be designed to prevent fire and smoke from moving between cars — although they acknowledged fire doors would not have made a difference in this case.
The passengers killed in the accident were: Cheuy Ong, 34, of West Jordan, Utah; Francis Knox, 58, and Karly ‘‘Annie’’ Knox, 18, of Seward, Neb.; and Barbara Bell, 60, of United Kingdom.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid commended the investigative team for providing ‘‘insight into the causes of the tragic collision.’’
‘‘Today, as we reflect on the accident, my thoughts go out to the family and friends of those individuals who lost their lives in the collision and to those who were injured,’’ he said in a statement. ‘‘The recommendations set forth today by NTSB will go to improve transportation safety and I look forward to receiving a full briefing on the investigation’s findings in the near future.’’
Associated Press reporter Ken Ritter contributed to this report from Las Vegas.