Highway Accident Report
Burnt Cabins, Pennsylvania
June 20, 1998
NTSB Number HAR-00/01
NTIS Number PB00-916201
Summary: About 4:05 a.m. on June 20, 1998, a 1997 Motor Coach Industries 47-passenger motorcoach, operated by Greyhound Lines, Inc., was on a scheduled trip from New York City to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, traveling westbound on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Burnt Cabins, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. As the bus approached milepost (MP) 184.9, it traveled off the right side of the roadway into an “emergency parking area,”1 where it struck the back of a parked tractor-semitrailer, which was pushed forward and struck the left side of another parked tractor-semitrailer. Of the 23 people on board the bus, the driver and 6 passengers were killed; the other 16 passengers were injured. The two occupants of the first tractor-semitrailer were injured, and the occupant of the second tractor-semitrailer was uninjured.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the busdriver’s reduced alertness resulting from ingesting a sedating antihistamine and from his fatigued condition resulting from Greyhound Lines, Inc., scheduling irregular work-rest periods. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s practice of routinely permitting nonemergency parking in pull-off areas within the highway clear zone.
The major safety issues identified in this accident are the busdriver’s performance, the adequacy of carrier oversight, the adequacy of the design and the appropriateness of the use of pull-off areas, the lack of motorcoach emergency interior lighting and retroreflective signage, and the organization of the disaster preparedness and emergency response management.
As a result of this accident investigation, the Safety Board makes recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission; Greyhound Lines, Inc.; the United Motorcoach Association; and the American Bus Association.