Highway Accident Brief

Median crossover multivehicle accident

Houston, Texas
January 7, 2013

NTSB Number: HAB-14-02
Adopted: April 10, 2014

Crash Description

About 8:40 a.m. central standard time, on January 7, 2013, a 2004 Toyota Camry passenger vehicle operated by a 37-year-old female driver was traveling southbound in the 14400 block of South Main Street in Houston, Texas. The Camry driver was returning home after completing a 13-hour shift as a nurse at a local hospital. The Camry was in the left lane of a three-lane divided roadway when the vehicle drifted to the left and departed the lane, mounted the curb, crossed over a 17-foot-wide earthen median, and entered the northbound lanes. The Camry struck the front left corner of a 2005 Lincoln LS passenger vehicle that was traveling northbound in the left lane on South Main Street. The initial collision redirected the Lincoln into the center lane of the northbound roadway, where it was subsequently struck in the rear by a 2000 Toyota Avalon passenger vehicle. Both the Lincoln and the Avalon traveled an additional 160 feet prior to coming to rest in the intersection of a side street. The Camry came to rest in the left lane of the northbound roadway.

As a result of the crash, the driver of the Lincoln was fatally injured. The driver of the Camry was transported to an area hospital where she was treated for her injuries, and the driver of the Avalon was reportedly uninjured. All three drivers were restrained by three-point lap and shoulder belts.


Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this crash was the Toyota Camry driver's failure to maintain directional control of her vehicle because of falling asleep. Contributing to the driver's fatigue was her inverted work schedule and her extended time since waking.