Highway Accident Report

Adopted: March 8, 1979
APRIL 11, 1978

NTSB Number: HAR-79/02
NTIS Number: PB-294004/AS


About 10:00 a.m., April 11, 1978, a "schoolbus" type bus, occupied by 56 boys and 2 adults, was southbound on I-75 near Tifton, Georgia, en route to Disney World, Florida, from Ypsilanti, Michigan. The bus was being operated by the Ypsilanti Boys Club. As the bus exited I-75 at a safety rest area, it went off the road while negotiating a right curve on the exit lane, overturned, and struck a tree. Three passengers were killed, and the driver and 25 passengers were injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the driver's loss of directional control of the bus on a curve because of excessive speed due to the failure of the accelerator return spring, which resulted from improper maintenance.

Contributing to the accident were severely underinflated tires, deteriorated suspension, excessive luggage on the roof, and driver fatigue.


As a result of its investigation of this accident, the National Transportation Safety Board made the following recommendations:

to the State of Michigan:

"Provide at least an annual motor vehicle inspection program for vehicles that seat 10 or more persons and buses that are not presently required to be inspected. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-79-8)"

to the State of Georgia:

"Continue pavement edge lines through the length of an exit ramp at locations where these lines have been terminated prior to the ramp's ending. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-79-9)"

to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

"Request that the individual States identify individuals or groups in the State that transport persons on a nonscheduled, not-for-hire basis, with group- or institution-owned vehicles that have a seating capacity of 10 or more persons and encourage the States to disseminate material to these groups on vehicle maintenance. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-79-10)

"Request that each State identify individuals or groups that transport persons on a not-for-hire basis, with vehicles that seat 10 or more persons and disseminate information about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Schoolbus Driver Instructional Program and the National Safety Council's Defensive Driving Course to these individuals and groups. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-79-11)"