Photo of southbound view of accident motorcoach at rest.

​Southbound view of accident motorcoach at rest.​

Motorcoach Run-Off-the-Road and Collision With Vertical Highway Signpost Interstate 95 Southbound

What Happened

​On March 12, 2011, about 5:38 a.m., a 1999 Prevost 56-passenger motorcoach, operated by World Wide Travel of Greater New York, headquartered in Brooklyn, was traveling southbound on Interstate 95, en route from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, to New York City, and carrying 32 passengers. While in the vicinity of mile marker 3.2, the motorcoach departed from the travel lanes to the right, driving over the rumble strips on the right shoulder edge. The motorcoach then crossed over the 10-foot-wide paved shoulder and struck a strong-post W-beam guardrail, traveling about 480 feet alongside and on the guardrail, before finally overturning 90° onto its right side and flattening the guardrail. The front of the vehicle subsequently collided with a vertical highway signpost consisting of two vertical 8-inch-diameter steel tubular poles linked by cross-beam diagonal metal supports. The front roof also collided with a steel electrical box mounted to the sign support structure. After the motorcoach struck the support structure and electrical box, the two poles entered the passenger compartment along the base of the passenger windows as the vehicle slid forward. The impact resulted in the roof panel being torn from the bus body for almost the entire length of the bus. As a result of this accident, 15 passengers were killed, 17 passengers received serious-to-minor injuries, and the bus driver received minor injuries.

What We Found

We determined that the probable cause of the accident was the motorcoach driver’s failure to control the motorcoach due to fatigue resulting from failure to obtain adequate sleep, poor sleep quality, and the time of day at which the accident occurred. Contributing to the accident was inadequate safety oversight of the accident driver by World Wide Travel’s management. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the motorcoach’s speed and a guardrail that was not designed to redirect the heavy vehicle and did not prevent it from colliding with the vertical highway signpost. Contributing to the severity of passenger injuries was the extensive intrusion of the vertical highway signpost into the passenger compartment.​

What We Recommended

We made recommendations t​o the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to the Federal Highway Administration, to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and to the American Bus Association, the National Motorcoach Network, and the United Motorcoach Association.​