Highway Accident Report

Adopted: January 22, 1987
AUGUST 25, 1985

NTSB Number: HAR-87/01
NTIS Number: PB87-916201


On the afternoon of August 25, 1985, a westbound Intercity bus with 17 occupants was traveling on Interstate 70, a four-lane divided highway near Frederick, Maryland. R was cloudy with light rain and the pavement was wet. About 12:40 p.m., as the bus descended a hill with a slight curve to the right, the rear tires of the bus lost traction. bus moved side to side out of control, crossing both travel lanes and the right paved shoulder, and struck the left side of a reinforced concrete bridge rail over the Monocacy River before coming to rest. Of the 17 occupants onboard 14 were ejected from the bus during the collision sequence. The busdriver and 5 passengers were fatally injured; 11 other passengers sustained minor to serious Injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the loss of control of the bus during a braking maneuver on wet highway pavement with low and variant frictional qualities and at a -speed too great for the existing weather conditions. Contributing to the accident were the lack of an operative speedometer and the lack of highway signs to warn the busdriver of the slippery road conditions.


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

--to the States of California, Hawaii, Idaho, Indianag Kentuckyg Massachusettsp Minnessota, Mississippi, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming, and the District of Columbia

Revise the existing motor vehicle accident reporting system to Include the vehicle identification number as a data element on the computerized accident report forms and in the computerized accident data base. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-87-6)

--to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Require that vehicle identification number data be collected and reported for all accidents in the Fatal Accident Reporting System data files. (Class II, Priority, Action) (H-87-7)

--to the American Medical Association (AMA):

Urge local chapters in each State and the District of Columbia to disseminate information on State and Federal medical qualifications for commercial vehicle drivers to practicing physicians who examine or provide care for commercial vehicle operators. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-87-8)

Encourage practicing physicians to use Federal and State medical qualification information when counseling patients on their medical fitness to drive. (Class IL Priority Action) (H-87-9)

Also, the Safety Board reiterates Safety Recommendation H-82-34 to the Federal Highway Administration:

Conduct and publish a comprehensive review, of each State's skid accident reduction program to identify problem areas, to develop corrective recommendations where necessary, and to disseminate more widely innovative local practices of proven value and general applicability.