The state has paid $3 million, the maximum legal settlement, to victims of a 2007 bus crash that killed seven and injured 28, according to the state Department of Transportation.
The bus held 35 people, including Bluffton University baseball team players, coaches, the driver and his wife. But state tort law limits the state's liability to $3 million per occurrence, no matter how many people were hurt, said DOT spokesman David Spear.
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution report found that 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, said DOT spokesman David Spear.
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