Gigean english summary

At about 16:30 on 24 March 2008 (Easter Monday) a minibus travelling along the A9 on the Montpellier-Béziers carriageway, crossed the central reservation of the motorway near the town of Gigean after breaking through the crash barriers and was hit by a vehicle travelling the opposite direction.
Another vehicle travelling in the opposite direction was not involved in this collision but hit the safety barriers which had been thrown onto the highway.
7 people were killed, 3 seriously injured and 2 received minor injuries.

The immediate cause of this accident was loss of control of the minibus by the driver due to hypovigilance or a distraction within the vehicle.

Two factors could have played a part in this loss of control :
- the presence of alcohol in the driver’s bloodstream, which could have caused his hypovigilance and impaired his reflexes ;
- the driver’s lack of training and driving experience, not holding a driving licence, which meant he did not have control of his vehicle.

Two other factors contributed to the seriousness of the accident :
- the breaking of the motorway’s central crash barrier, which enabled the minibus to come into collision with a vehicle travelling in the other direction ;
- failure of some passengers in the minibus to wear a seat belt, which contributed to their being thrown from the bus.

BEA-TT made two recommendations : one concerning preventive action in relation to drivers of vehicles belonging to the Emmaüs France association, and the other concerning impact tests on actual models of central reservation crash barriers with pin hinges, in order to make adjustments to them aimed at improving vehicle restraint.

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