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Accident Report Detail

Collision of CSXT Freight Train and Murray County School District School Bus at Railroad/Highway Grade Crossing

Executive Summary

‚ÄčOn March 28, 2000, about 6:40 a.m. (sunrise was at 6:33 a.m.), a CSX Transportation, Inc., freight train traveling 51 mph struck the passenger side of a Murray County, Georgia, School District school bus at a railroad/highway grade crossing near Conasauga, Tennessee. The accident occurred as the school bus was crossing the tracks at a speed of approximately 15 mph. During the accident sequence, the driver and three children were ejected. Two ejected passengers received serious injuries and one was fatally injured. The driver, who had been wearing a lap/shoulder belt that broke during the crash sequence, received minor injuries. Of the four passengers who remained inside the bus, two were fatally injured, one sustained serious injuries, and one, who was restrained by a lap belt, received minor injuries. The two train crewmembers were not injured.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collision was the school bus& driver's failure to stop before traversing the railroad/highway grade crossing. Contributing to the accident was the Murray County, Georgia, School District's failure to monitor busdriver performance and its lack of school bus route planning to identify hazards on school bus routes and to eliminate the necessity of crossing railroad tracks. Contributing to the injuries of the school bus passengers were incomplete compartmentalization and a lack of energy-absorbing material on interior surfaces.

Accident Location: Conasauga , TN    
Accident Date: 3/28/2000
Accident ID: HWY00MH036

Date Adopted: 12/11/2001
NTSB Number: HAR-01-03
NTIS Number: PB2001-916203