Highway Accident Report

Adopted: July 21, 1987
JULY 14, 1986

NTSB Number: HAR-87/05
NTIS Number: PB87-916207


About 4:15 a.m. on Monday, July 14, 1986, an intercity bus operated by Trailways Lines, Inc. was traveling eastbound on 1-40 near Brinkley, Arkansas when It collided with the left rear of a tractor-semitrailer combination operated by Rising Fast Trucking Company, Inc. (RFT). At the time of the collision the RFT vehicle was making a U-turn which resulted In the RFT semitrailer's blocking both eastbound traffic lanes at a highway crossover from the eastbound to the westbound lanes of I-40 at milepost 210.4 near Brinkley, Arkansas. At the time of the collision the bus was transporting 28 passengers from Little Rock, Arkansas, to Memphis, Tennessee, on a leg of a regularly-scheduled run. One passenger reported that the busdriver screamed, "Hang onl" just before the collision.

The force of the collision caused the RFT semitrailer to rotate In a counterclockwise direction, and it came to rest In the highway median. The RFT semitrailer did not separate from its truck-tractor and came to rest In the highway crossover facing northwest with the front of the tractor partially blocking the Inside lane of westbound 1-40. (See figures I and 2.)

After the collision the bus continued in a southeasterly direction, left the pavement of the eastbound roadway, overturned 90o to the left, and came to rest on its left side on a grassy slope facing south with the rear of the bus about 17 feet south of the edge of the eastbound shoulder of the roadway. (See figure 3.) The weather, was clear, it was dark with no artificial highway lighting at the site, and the pavement was dry. The vehicles did not catch fire.

Before the collision a truckdriver who was driving eastbound on I-40 near milepost 208 reported that he heard talk on his citizen's band (CB) radio about a little sports car and a Trailways bus racing and "acting crazy." At that time a Trailways bus passed his truck traveling in the left lane of eastbound 1-40. A small automobile also passed him and almost cut him off when the auto changed lanes In front of him.

The truckdriver reported that he looked at his speedometer at the time the bus passed him and the truck's speed was 65 mph. He estimated that the bus was traveling at least 80 mph when it passed, and that the bus continued to pull away from him as both vehicles continued eastbound. When the bus was about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile ahead of him and still appeared to be traveling In the left eastbound lane, the truckdriver saw a cloud of dirt and the bus tipping over onto Its left side. He then saw the lights of a tractor semitrailer In the highway median.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of accident was the attempt by the driver of the Rising Fast Trucking Company, Ine-9 vehicle to execute an illegal U-turn at a highway crossover. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the operation of the Trailways Lines, Inc., intercity bus at a speed which did not permit adequate time and distance to slow or stop the bus to avoid the collision.


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

-to the Federal Highway Administration:

Revise the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations without delay to require operators of commercial motor vehicles to annually obtain and retain on file the driving violation conviction record for each driver employed from the State which issued the driver's license to operate a commercial motor vehicle. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-87-45)

-to the Governor and the Legislative Leaders of the Arkansas General Assembly:

Revoke Section 75-1013.1 of the Arkansas Motor Vehicle and Traffic Laws without delay and impose no other limitations on the availability of complete driving violation conviction records to employers of drivers of commercial motor vehicles. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-87-46)

-to the American Trucking Associations, Inc.:

Poll all licensing jurisdictions in the United States each time the booklet "How and Where to Check Driving Records and Report Accidents" is revised to determine if any Jurisdiction has imposed limitations on the availability of complete driving violation conviction records of commercial vehicle drivers, and include this information in the booklet. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-87-47)