Highway Accident Report

Adopted: December 10, 1985
COLLISION OF TUBA CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
SCHOOLBUS AND BELL CREEK, INC.,
TRACTOR-SEMITRAILER, U.S 160
NEAR TUBA CITY, ARIZONIA
APRIL 29, 1985

NTSB Number: HAR-85/06
NTIS Number: PB85-916207


SYNOPSIS

About 3:14 p.m. mountain standard time on April 29, 1985, a Bell Creek, Inc.tractor-semitrailer transporting 99 head of cattle and traveling about 59 mph struck the rear of a 1977 Tuba City Unified School District schoolbus on eastbound U.S. 160 about 16 miles north of Tuba City Arizona. The schoolbus was stopped with its warning lights flashing in the eastbound lane of the two-lane highway to discharge passengers. The weather was clear, the pavement was dry, and there were no visibility obstructions for about 1.4 miles to the rear of the schoolbus. Of the 32 s'choolbus passengers (ages 5 to 21 years), 2 were fatally injured, 4 sustained serious injuries 4 received moderate injuries, 18 sustained minor injuries, and 4 were not injured. The truckdriver and the schoolbus driver received minor injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the truckdriver's chronic fatigue, which adversely affected his ability to avoid a collision with the stationary schoolbus; his chronic fatigue developed from a loss of sleep due to a combination of excessive duty time and a prolonged irregular duty pattern. Contributing to the accident was the failure of Bell Creek, Inc. to properly monitor the truckdriver's activities to prevent excessive hours of service.

RECOMMENDATIONS

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

-to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Revise Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 221, School Bus Body Joint Strength, to require that the joints of interior body maintenance access panels within a defined occupant contactable zone meet the joint strength performance requirement of other body panel joints. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-85-51)

-to the Federal Highway Administration:

Institute a nationwide policy which requires a re-audit of a motor carrier or hazardous materials shipper within 1 year after the completion of an enforcement action. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-85-52)