Highway Accident Report

Adopted: September 29, 1981 ARA SERVICES, INC., TOUR BUS
DENALI NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE
(MT. McKINLEY NATIONAL PARK), ALASKA
JUNE 15,1981

NTSB Number: HAR-81/07
NTIS Number: PB82-131707


SYNOPSIS

About 8:00 p.m. A.s.t., on June 15, 1981, a 40-passenger tour bus, eastbound on Denali Park Road, Denali National Park, Alaska, ran off the right edge of the roadway at a very slow speed and rolled to its right down a hillside. Twenty-five of the thirty-two occupants were ejected as the bus rolled 2 1/4 times down the hillside. Twenty-six occupants were injured, five were killed, and the bus sustained moderate damage.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the student driver to give adequate attention to the driving task and his misjudgment of his lateral position on the road which resulted in the bus leaving the right edge of the roadway and rolling down the hillside. Contributing to the accident was the driver's lack of training and experience in this tour bus operation. Contributing to the severity of the occupants' injuries and to the fatalities was the lack of occupant restraints which permitted the ejection of most of the occupants.

RECOMMENDATIONS

As a result of this investigations the National Transportation Safety Board recommends that the National Park Service:

Clarify the National Park Road Standards to specify minimum as well as maximum widths of both roadway and shoulders. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-81-82)

Require the Denali Park concessionaire, who is responsible for the operation of the tour and shuttle bus services, to require that all its drivers successfully complete a busdrivers training program comparable to that now required of shuttle busdrivers and to qualify annually all drivers who transport passengers. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-81-83)

In addition to the flat outside rearview mirrors, require the park concessionaires who is responsible for the operation of the tour and shuttle bus services to equip its buses with convex mirrors on both sides to permit drivers to view the roadway adjacent to the front and rear wheels. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-81-84)

Require the Denali Park concessionaire, who is responsible for the operation of the tour and shuttle bus services to equip each seating position in each bus with an occupant restraint and or require passengers to wear the restraints. (Class II, Priority Action)(H-81-85)

Conduct detailed surveys of other national parks to determine whether they have road conditions and/or bus service problems similar to those uncovered with respect to Denali Park and take appropriate actions as necessary to correct deficiencies. (Class II, Priority Action)(H-81-86)

Establish both long- and short-term National Park Service roadway and bridge improvement programs to address the road and bridge deficiencies as recommended by the Federal Highway Administration in its April 1981 Executive Summary of the Road and Bridge Inventory and Inspection Program report. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-81-87)