Highway Accident Report

Adopted: September 5, 1984
COLLISION OF G & D AUTO SALES INC.,
TOW TRUCK TOWING AUTOMOBILE,
BRANCH MOTOR EXPRESS COMPANY
TRACTOR-SEMITRAILER
TOWN OF REHOBOTH SCHOOLBUS
REHOBOTH, MASSACHUSETTS
JANUARY 10, 1984

NTSB Number: HAR-84/05
NTIS Number: PB84-916205


SYNOPSIS

At 11:45 a.m., on January 10, 1984, a G & D Auto Sales, Inc., tow truck was turning right from the company's driveway onto westbound State Route 44 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts when the rear-facing passenger car in tow, a 1981 Oldsmobile, was struck by an eastbound tractor-semitrailer operated by Branch Express Company. The 76,950-pound tractor-semitrailer continued eastbound; crossed the centerline of the damp, two-lane, two-way roadway; and struck the left front of a westbound Town of Rehoboth schoolbus carrying 15 students, ages 5 and 6. The 1979 schoolbus overturned and came to rest on its roof off the roadway. The driver of the schoolbus, and one student were killed; 12 students were injured. The driver of the tow truck was not injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable causes of the accident were (a) unsecured steering axle wheels of the vehicle being towed by the rear, (b) excursion of the towed vehicle over the highway centerline into the path of the oncoming tractor-semitrailer, (c) loss of directional control by the driver of the tractor-semitrailer and (d) entry of the uncontrolled tractor-semitrailer into the opposing traffic lane where it struck the schoolbus.

RECOMMENDATIONS

-the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Include in Highway Safety Program Standard (HSPS) 17--Pupil Transportation safety and in the "Program Manual" for HSPS 17--Pupil the requirement that the States institute quality control procedures for schoolbus repairs to determine if needed repairs have been performed adequately or if major repairs are required. (Class 14 Priority Action) (H-83-44)

Include in the "Program Manual" of Highway Safety Programs Standard 17--Pupil Transportation Safety:

1. Specific, well-defined qualifications for hiring schoolbus mechanics;

2. Specific skill areas for schoolbus mechanics for which certification of proficiency is required;

3. A bibliography of available courses which can be attended or course curricula which can
be used as an example to obtain certification of proficiency in the, required skill areas;

4. A requirement to institute and enforce procedures to prevent school activity groups from organizing, beginning, or continuing trips in mechanically unsafe vehicles- and

5. Requirements to place fire extinguishers at the front and rear of scboolbuses, post signs in schoolbuses on the location and use of emergency equipment, and brief passengers on the location and use of emergency equipment, both periodically and before beginning activity trips. (Class U, Priority Action) (H-83-45)

-all States and the District of Columbia:

Place fire extinguishers at the front and rear of schoolbuses, post signs in schoolbuses on the location and use of emergency equipment and brief passengers on the location and use of emergency equipment,, both periodically and before beginning activity trips. (Class 14 Priority Action) (H-83-48)