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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-07-013
Synopsis: On September 23, 2005, a 1998 Motor Coach Industries, Inc., 54-passenger motorcoach, operated by Global Limo Inc. (Global), of Pharr, Texas, was traveling northbound on Interstate 45 (I-45) near Wilmer, Texas. The motorcoach, en route from Bellaire to Dallas, Texas, as part of the evacuation in anticipation of Hurricane Rita, was carrying 44 assisted living facility residents and nursing staff. The trip had begun about 3:00 p.m. on September 22. Fifteen hours later, about 6:00 a.m. on the following day, a motorist noticed that the right-rear tire hub was glowing red and alerted the motorcoach driver, who stopped in the left traffic lane and then proceeded to the right shoulder of I-45 near milepost 269.5. The driver and nursing staff exited the motorcoach and observed flames emanating from the right-rear wheel well. As they initiated an evacuation of the motorcoach, with assistance from passersby, heavy smoke and fire quickly engulfed the entire vehicle. Twenty-three passengers were fatally injured. Of the 21 passengers who escaped, 2 were seriously injured and 19 received minor injuries; the motorcoach driver also received minor injuries.
Recommendation: TO THE AMERICAN BUS ASSOCIATION AND THE UNITED MOTORCOACH ASSOCIATION: Advise your motorcoach manufacturer members to review product maintenance manuals and, if the manuals do not emphasize the importance of wheel bearing lubrication, to revise them to specifically warn that daily inspection of hub oil levels and wheel seals is vital to prevent wheel bearing failure and that bypassing this requirement is a dangerous practice that can lead to a wheel fire or other serious consequences.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Await Response
Mode: Highway
Location: Wilmer, TX, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: hwy05mh035
Accident Reports: Motorcoach Fire on Interstate 45 During Hurricane Rita Evacuation
Report #: HAR-07-01
Accident Date: 9/23/2005
Issue Date: 6/27/2007
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: American Bus Association (Open - Await Response)
United Motorcoach Association (Closed - Acceptable Action)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: American Bus Association
Date: 11/21/2013
Response: Because we have never received a response from the ABA regarding this recommendation, it has been classified OPEN—AWAIT RESPONSE since its issuance. We are interested in knowing whether and how our recommendations are implemented, both to ensure that the traveling public is provided the highest level of safety and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. Therefore, please inform us about the status of the ABA’s actions to implement Safety Recommendations H 06 29, H 07 12 through 14, H 09 9, H 12 28, and H 12 67.

From: NTSB
To: United Motorcoach Association
Date: 2/11/2013
Response: We note that you published six articles in the March 15, 2007, edition of Bus and Motorcoach NEWS, informing your membership of the circumstances of the Wilmer accident and the importance of proper wheel bearing maintenance and inspection, sent an advisory bulletin regarding wheel bearing maintenance to your members, and regularly discuss motorcoach maintenance issues at the educational sessions offered at your annual conference. As these actions satisfy the intent of Safety Recommendations H-07-12 through -14, the recommendations are classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: United Motorcoach Association
Date: 10/2/2012
Response: -From Victor S. Parra, President and CEO: At the request of Julie Perrot, I am sending you back issues of Bus and Motorcoach NEWS which contained your open recommendations. Please let me know if you have any questions. As always, we appreciate the great work you and the Board do to promote safety on our Nation's highways.