Highway Accident Report

Adopted: September 5, 1984
DECEMBER 23, 1983

NTSB Number: HAR-84/06
NTIS Number: PB84-916206


About 7:40 p.m., central standard time, on December 23, 1983, a southbound activity bus (bus) suddenly veered leftward, crossed the centerline of State Route 61, a 2-lane, 2-way highway, and struck head on a northbound tractor cargo tank semitrailer near Devers, Texas. The tractor cargo tank semitrailer penetrated from. 5.5 to 6.5 feet into the passenger compartment of the 1970 former schoolbus. The busdriver and all 21 passengers aboard were ejected through the front opening created in the collision. The truckdriver, the busdriver, and eight bus passengers were killed. Thirteen other bus passengers were injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the loss of control of the activity bus following the deflation and subsequent blowout of the left front tire due to a nail puncture. Contributing to the severity of the injuries was the less rigid construction of the 1970 former schoolbus when compared to schoolbuses built after April 1977 which meet minimum Federal requirements for crashworthiness and occupant protection.


As a result of its Investigation,, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended:

to the Governors of Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Minnesota, and Washington:

Revise current State motor vehicle licensing procedures to require all applicants for commercial or noncommercial bus licenses to take an appropriate written examination and a road test in the size vehicle for which the license is to be issued. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-84-70).

to the Governors of Arizona, Idaho, South Dakota, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Ohio, West Virginia, New Mexico, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, Alaska, Vermont, Utah, Oregon, and the Mayor of the District of Columbia:

Enact appropriate legislation to require all prospective operators of noncommercial buses to demonstrate their driving skills by taking an appropriate written examination and road test in the size vehicle for which the license is to be issued. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-84-72)

to the Commissioner's Court of Liberty County Texas:

Develop a disaster plan to include all fire, police, medical, and emergency support agencies within the county as well as adjacent counties, which provides clear guidelines on jurisdiction, logistical requirements, medical resource availability, communication needs, and the need for establishing a triage system In the event of a catastrophic accident. (Class II, Priority Action)(H-84-71)