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Accident Report Detail

Bus Loss of Control and Rollover

Executive Summary

On Friday, January 30, 2009, about 4:06 p.m. mountain standard time, a 2007 Chevrolet/Starcraft 29-passenger medium-size bus, operated by DW Tour and Charter and occupied by the driver and 16 passengers, was traveling northbound in the right lane of U.S. Highway 93, a four-lane divided highway, near Dolan Springs, Arizona. The bus was on a return trip from Grand Canyon West to Las Vegas, Nevada, after a day-long tour. As the bus approached milepost 28 at an estimated speed of 70 mph, it moved to the left and out of its lane of travel. The driver steered sharply back to the right, crossing both northbound lanes and entering the right shoulder. The driver subsequently overcorrected to the left, causing the bus to yaw and cross both northbound lanes. The bus then entered the depressed earthen median and overturned 1.25 times before coming to rest on its right side across both southbound lanes. During the rollover sequence, 15 of the 17 occupants (including the driver) were fully or partially ejected. Seven passengers were killed, and nine passengers and the driver received injuries ranging from minor to serious. At the time of the accident, the roadway was dry and the weather was clear.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the January 30, 2009, accident near Dolan Springs, Arizona, was the bus driver's inadvertent drift from the driving lane due to distraction caused by his manipulation of the driver's side door and subsequent abrupt steering maneuver, which led to losing directional control of the vehicle. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the lack of both occupant protection and advanced window glazing standards for medium-size buses.

Accident Location: Dolan Springs , AZ    
Accident Date: 1/30/2009
Accident ID: HWY09MH009

Date Adopted: 6/22/2010
NTSB Number: HAR-10-01
NTIS Number: PB2010-916201