The driver of a bus which hit and killed a pedestrian on Brunker Road last year was "incapacitated" and had "lost control" after suffering a "transient loss of consciousness", an investigation into the incident has found.
The Office of Transport Safety Investigations report, tabled in parliament last week, outlines the driver's 16-second loss of consciousness as the contributing factor in the November 5 crash, which resulted in the death of a 35-year-old woman who was hit while waiting to use the pedestrian crossing near the intersection of Brunker Road and Mandalong Road.
The driver was aware he was not feeling well before the incident but "did not anticipate becoming incapacitated" and was unable to stop the bus, the report says.
The 61-year-old male driver told investigators that he "felt dizzy and looked for a place to pull over before everything went black".
The investigation found the driver was not fatigued nor affected by alcohol or drugs.
Environment conditions on the day and road infrastructure were also ruled out as contributing factors.
Technical inspections conducted by RMS heavy vehicle inspectors did not find a mechanical malfunction, component failure or a design feature of the bus that contributed to the accident.
The bus driver had suffered a heart attack six months prior to the crash, but was cleared to resume regular driving duties shortly after.
The report notes "while cardiovascular dysfunction is a potential cause of TLoC [transient loss of consciousness], there was no evidence to support the bus driver's likely TLoC was due to cardiovascular dysfunction".
The investigators sought the results of a post-accident medical examination, but they "were not made available".
"On the evidence available, determining the underlying cause of the likely TLoC was not possible," the report says.
In the report's recommendations, the Office of Transport Safety Investigations advises Transport for NSW to reassess its health assessment standards for bus drivers after the investigation compared existing standards with other transport industries.
"Although the bus driver is in a role that is as equally safety critical to that of a commercial pilot or train driver, the bus driver is not always subjected to a physical medical examination as a prerequisite for approval of their driver's authority," it says in the report.
"A bus driver may have to undertake a physical medical examination but only if the information that has been disclosed on the medical assessment leads the medical professional to conduct one."
Bus operators were also advised to review their policies and practices to ensure bus drivers are aware they should stop their bus when they recognise they are affected by ill health.
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