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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-89-006
Details
Synopsis: About 10:55 p.m. eastern daylight time on May 14, 1988, a pickup truck traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of interstate 71 struck head-on a church activity bus traveling southbound in the left lane of the highway near Carrollton, Kentucky. As the pickup truck rotated during impact, it struck a passenger car traveling southbound in the right lane near the church bus. The church bus fuel tank was punctured during the collision sequence, and a fire ensued, engulfing the entire bus. The bus driver and 26 bus passengers were fatally injured. Thirty-four bus passengers sustained minor to critical injuries, and six bus passengers were not injured. The pickup truck driver sustained serious injuries, but neither occupant of the passenger car was injured.
Recommendation: TO THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAETY ADMINISTRATION: Revise Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 301 to provide additional protection for school buses in severe crash situations based on an evaluation of the merits of relocating fuel tanks, providing additional structure to protect fuel system components, and frangible valves in critical locations.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Carrollton, KY, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA88MH004
Accident Reports: Pickup Truck/Church Activity Bus Head-on Collision and Fire
Report #: HAR-89-01
Accident Date: 5/14/1988
Issue Date: 6/5/1989
Date Closed: 5/15/1996
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: NHTSA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 5/15/1996
Response: The Board notes that NHTSA has published several advance notices of proposed rulemaking for possible amendments to FMVSS 301, fuel system integrity. Although no revisions to FMVSS 301 have been made, we understand that school bus manufacturers generally comply with the regulation's stringent crash test requirements for large school bus fuel systems by adding a cage around the fuel tank. Based on this info H-89-6 has been classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/20/1995
Response: On 3/30/89, NHTSA published an ANPRM for possible amendments to FMVSS no. 301 Buses & School Buses. The commenters generally agree that the present requirements in FMVSS no. 301 were adequate. Manufacturers generally comply with these requirements by adding a cage around the fuel tank.

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/31/1994
Response:

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 2/19/1993
Response:

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 10/22/1991
Response:

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/11/1991
Response: An advance notice of proposed rulemaking was published on 3/30/89, seeking comments on a variety of issues dealing with the application of current large school bus fuel system standards to other types of buses & the upgrade of the standard's requirements for all buses, including school buses. The comments to that docket have been reviewed but do not provide clear direction to propose any changes to FMVSS no. 301. As a result, the Agency is considering several options as a next step, including the formulation of a research program which would develop the technical information necessary to evaluate various means of improving the fuel system integrity of buses. A copy of the summary of docket comments is enclosed for your info.

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 10/18/1989
Response:

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/16/1989
Response: Enclosed are copies of advance notices of proposed rulemaking that were issued prior to board's findings these ANPRMs specifically address the issues concerning the federal motor vehicle safety standards covered by the recommendations. Additionally, for recommendation H-89-4, the interagency agreement with the national institute of standards and technology is scheduled for completion in December 1989. The results of their work should provide the agency with the necessary information to evaluate current and possible new test procedures and test criteria for the flammability of interior materials on buses. We believe that the ANPRMs and interagency agreement with NIST are important steps toward updating school bus standards and trust that the board find our actions responsive to its recommendations.

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 8/8/1989
Response: Thank you for the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) April 27, 1989, response to the National Transportation Safety Board's Safety Recommendations H-89-6 and -7 concerning railroad/highway grade crossing safety. Safety Recommendation H-89-6 concerns the identification of design criteria for grade crossings. The Safety Board issued this safety recommendation in part on the basis of the FHWA "Annual Review of Federally Coordinated Program Project 10: Railroad Highway Grade Crossing Safety," which identified the problem of high-profile crossings as a "most important" priority. Although quantitative data in several elevated surface crossing accidents do not indicate that high-profile surfaces at grade crossings are a statistically significant problem nationwide, the hazard is serious enough to warrant corrective measures. The Safety Board believes countermeasures should be initiated, particularly the identification of such crossings, and the signing of crossings identified as hazardous to low-profile vehicles. We appreciate your efforts to issue a memorandum to FHWA field offices requesting that this problem of low-clearance vehicles and high-profile crossings be brought to the attention of State highway agencies and that corrective measures receive appropriate consideration in the State's crossing safety program. We suggest that another approach would be for the FHWA to join forces with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officia1s and the American Rail way Engineering Association to enhance safety at railroad/highway grade crossings by developing design criteria to reduce the hazards at high-profile crossings. Pending further response and receipt of a copy of the planned memorandum, this recommendation will be classified as OPEN-ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE RESPONSE.

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/27/1989
Response: -From Robert E. Farris, Administrator: The National Transportation Safety Board issued Safety Recommendations (SR 1 s) H-89-6 and -7 on February 21, 1989, to the Federal Highway Administration. These SR's are a result of the Board 1 s safety study "Case Summaries of 189 Heavy Truck Accident Investigations." Enclosed are formal responses to these SR's. Please advise us of the status of SR's R-86-49, -50, -55, and -57 as a result of our April 21, 1988, letter and responses to Mr. Burnett.

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/6/1989
Response: -From Robert E. Farris, Administrator: We have received Safety Recommendations H-89-6 and -7 issued by the National Transportation Safety Board on February 21, 1989. We will respond to these recommendations in accordance with the Department of Transportation's procedures.

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date:
Response: At the 1990 Board meeting addressing the NTSB’s Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements (MWL), the Board voted to place Safety Recommendations H-89-01, H-89-04 through H-89-06, and H-90-74 on the state MWL under the issue category “School Bus Safety.” This category was removed from the MWL in 1998.