Aircraft Accident Report

Adopted: September 29, 1980
B&J TRUCKING COMPANY TRUCK TRACTOR/
COACHELLA VALLEY UNIFIED SCHOOL
DISTRICT SCHOOLBUS COLLISION
STATE ROUTE 86
NEAR COACHELLA, CALIFORNIA
APRIL 23, 1980

NTSB Number: HAR-80/06
NTIS Number: PB81-140071


SYNOPSIS

About 3:25 p.m., Pacific standard time, on April 23, 1980, a truck tractor was traveling north on California State Route 86, a two-lane rural highway, when its left front tire blew out. The tractor swerved to the left, crossed the centerline, and collided head-on with a southbound schoolbus transporting nine teenaged students home from school. The busdriver and three students were killed; the truckdriver and six students were injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the truck company to properly maintain its vehicle which resulted in a blow-out of the left front tractor tire, causing the truckdriver to lose control of his vehicle. Contributing to the accident were the lack of a truck company preventive maintenance program and an inadequate California Highway Patrol inspection that should have detected the deteriorated condition of the tire before it blew out.

RECOMMENDATIONS

As a result of its investigation of this accident the National Transportation Safety Board recommended:

to the State of California:

Revise Section 1088 of the California Administrative Code to match the minimum tread depth requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, Section 343.75(b) and (c), which are more in keeping with tire standards recommended by current research. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-80-70)

Circulate the Coachella accident report, with its finding of the inadequate inspection of the truck, among California Commercial Vehicle inspectors. (Class I, Urgent Action) (H-80-71)

Investigate the potential for limited Improvements along California State Route 86 between Coachella and Westmorland, California, that will at least serve as interim safety improvements while longer term Improvements are under consideration. (Class I, Urgent Action) (11-80-72)

to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Take immediate action to fulfill its commitment to urge the States to adopt a schoolbus seating policy that front and rear seats be left vacant when feasible and to revise NHTSA pupil transportation safety manuals to include this policy. (Class I, Urgent Action) (H-80-73)

to the National School Transportation Association:

Inform its members of the National Transportation Safety Board recommendation that front and rear seats of schoolbuses be left vacant when feasible. (Class I, Urgent Action) (H-80-74)