Highway Accident Report

Adopted: August 8, 1989
NOVEMBER 19, 1988

NTSB Number: HAR-89/03
NTIS Number: PB89-916204


About 6:45 a.m., central standard time, on November 19, 1988, an intercity bus with 45 occupants, traveling southbound through a construction zone on Interstate Highway 65 in Nashville, Tennessee, suddenly went out of control during a steering maneuver, rotated 190 degrees clockwise in the southbound lanes, overturned on its left side, and came to rest facing northbound on the southbound embankment. Witness reports indicate that the bus was traveling at a high rate of speed in conditions of heavy rain. The unrestrained bus driver and 38 passengers were injured in the accident. Twelve passengers sustained serious injuries, and the bus driver and 26 passengers received minor injuries. Six passengers were not injured. Injured persons were taken to seven area hospitals for treatment.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the operation of the bus at a speed that was above the regulatory limit and too great for existing weather conditions, which resulted in the bus driver's loss of control. Contributing to the loss of control were the variant frictional properties of the travel lanes in the construction zone.

The safety issues discussed in the report include:

· Adequacy of driver training.

· Annual reviews of driver performance records by Greyhound personnel, and Federal regulations concerning these reviews.

· Federal regulations concerning medical certification of commercial drivers.

· Skid accident reduction efforts by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Safety Recomendations addressing these issues were made to Greyhound Lines Inc., the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration.


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

to Greyhound Lines, Inc.:

Review and modify, as needed, company policies and procedures to identify bus drivers with unsafe performance records and then prevent them from continuing to operate buses in a manner hazardous to public safety. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-89-26)

Develop a structured recurrent training program, encompassing classroom instruction as well as simulator and/or behind-the-wheel instruction, designed to help maintain the performance of company bus drivers at high standards, and require all bus drivers to participate on a regular basis; include in this program instruction on safe bus operations in adverse weather conditions. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-89-27)

Revise the form bus drivers are required to complete as part of their biennial physical examinations so that by signing the document they certify that the medical history they have provided is both complete and accurate and that Greyhound has the authority to obtain information on the bus drivers' medical history from their personal health care providers; and revise the form to require bus drivers to provide information on any illness or injury incurred during the previous two years or since the last certification examination. (Class II, Priority Action).(H-89-28)

Establish and enforce a policy that each individual conducting the federally required annual review of a bus driver's traffic record be a supervisor who is familiar with that record, qualified to interpret it, and authorized to impose appropriate measures in response to findings from the review. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-89-29)

Institute a program to educate company bus drivers about the need for proper nourishment while on duty and also to educate both bus drivers and their families about the stresses imposed by night work and shift work, as well as the adverse effect these stresses can have on safe job performance. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-89-30)

to the Federal Highway Administration:

Revise Section 391.43 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to: Incorporate a provision that will prohibit the omission of medical information in connection with a medical certification physical examination; require that when commercial drivers are examined, they sign a statement certifying that the medical history they have provided is both complete and accurate and that the motor carrier has the authority to obtain information on the bus drivers' medical history from their personal health care providers; and require that the medical history form elicit more complete information on drivers, using commonly understandable terminology. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-89-31)

Revise Section 391.25 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to specify the qualifications of the individuals conducting the reviews of commercial drivers' performance records, required annually of motor carriers. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-89-32)

to the Tennessee Department of Transportation:

Modify Tennessee's skid accident reduction program in accordance with the recommendations issued by FHWA in its 1986 review of the State's skid accident reduction activities, and with the standards and guidelines issued by the FHWA for pavement-management systems. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-89-33)