Highway Accident Report

Adopted: January 25, 1985
APRIL 12, 1984

NTSB Number: HAR-85/02
NTIS Number: PB85-916202


About 3:25 p.m. on April 12, 1984, a westbound Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company freight train traveling about 49 mph struck the front right side of a northbound 1980 Isle of Wight County schoolbus stopped at a railroad grade crossing on State Route 615 near Carrsville, Virginia. The weather was clear, the sun was to the schoolbus driver's left, and the train’s whistle and bell were sounding before the collision. There were crossbucks on both sides of the single track crossing. The driver's sight distance in the direction of the approaching train was about 1/3 of a mile. The 64-passenger schoolbus body separated from the chassis at Impact, rotated counterclockwise 180 degrees, rolled over 270 degrees to the right, and came to rest on its left side about 80 feet southwest of the crossing. Of the 26 school-aged bus passengers, two were Injured seriously, one had moderate injuries, and the other 23 sustained minor injuries. The busdriver was seriously Injured and died five days after the accident. The train crew was not injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the schoolbus driver's failure to stop before driving onto the railroad crossing to determine that it was safe to proceed.


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

--to the State Directors of Pupil Transportation of the 50 States and the District of Columbia-.

Encourage local school jurisdictions to establish and enforce procedures to systematically monitor schoolbus driver compliance with railroad crossing stop requirements and routing requirements which Include on-scene observations of driver performance. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-85-4)

Encourage local school jurisdictions to issue an announcement to parents and students at or near the start of each school year which (1) states the jurisdiction's rules regarding schoolbuses stopping at railroad crossings, (2) requests that schoolbus drivers who fail to comply be reported to a designated school official, and (3) provides the name and telephone number of the official. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-85-5)

Encourage local school jurisdictions to: discuss with driver applicants during the selection process the physical and mental demands placed upon schoolbus drivers, encourage in-service drivers to discuss their problems and their satisfaction with the present job assignment with their supervisors during routine contacts and during performance evaluations, and encourage supervisors to have frequent contact with their schoolbus drivers to discuss and resolve
behavior problems concerning schoolbus passengers. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-85-6)

--to the Virginia Department of Education:

Consult without delay with the Virginia Medical Society to promulgate objective minimum physical standards for schoolbus drivers as specified by Section 2201-178 of the Code of, Virginia, as amended in 1979. Incorporate the standards in the prescribed physical examination forms and specify the health history that medical examiners shall obtain when examining schoolbus driver applicants. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-85-7)