June 9, 2002
NTSB Number: HAR-03/01
NTIS Number: PB2003-916201
Adopted February 26, 2003
On Sunday, June 9, 2002, about 5:10 a.m. central daylight time, near Loraine, Texas, a 1993 Motor Coach Industries MC-12 motorcoach, operated by Greyhound Lines, Inc., (Greyhound) and occupied by the driver and 37 passengers, was traveling east on Interstate 20 (I-20), on a scheduled route from El Paso, Texas, to Abilene, Texas, at a driver-reported speed of 65 to 67 mph. A truck tractor-semitrailer, consisting of a tractor and a semitrailer leased by DelCar Trucking (DelCar), which was being operated by a driver in training with a codriver in the sleeper berth, was entering the interstate from a picnic area at a driver-estimated speed of 40 mph and proceeding into the eastbound lanes. The motorcoach collided with the rear of the semitrailer near milepost 228 of Interstate 20, pushing the tractor-semitrailer approximately 276 feet. Three passengers on the Greyhound bus, all seated in the front of the bus, were fatally injured. Five passengers and the busdriver were seriously injured. Twenty-four passengers sustained minor injuries, and five passengers were uninjured. The truckdriver sustained a minor injury, and the codriver was uninjured.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the unnecessarily slow acceleration of the unlighted semitrailer onto a high-speed interstate by an inexperienced and unsupervised driver who was impaired by cocaine. Contributing to the accident was DelCar Trucking's failure to exercise adequate operational oversight and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's failure to ensure the safety of and provide management oversight for new entrant motor carriers.
As a result of this accident investigation, which focuses upon the safety of and management oversight for new entrant motor carriers, the Safety Board makes two recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
To the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
Revise the Safety Status Measurement System (SafeStat) to base scores on the Driver and Vehicle safety evaluation areas for new motor carriers, so that new motor carriers with high scores in either of these areas can be identified and will receive an immediate compliance review. (H-03-01)
Require all new motor carriers seeking operating authority to demonstrate their safety fitness prior to obtaining new entrant operating authority by, at a minimum: (1) passing an examination demonstrating their knowledge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations; (2) submitting a comprehensive plan documenting that the motor carrier has management systems in place to ensure compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations; and (3) passing a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration safety audit, including vehicle inspections. (H-03-02)