Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-18-019
Details
Synopsis: In November 2016, the NTSB began the investigation of two crashes involving school buses. Each crash was initiated when the driver lost control of the bus. In the November 1 crash in Baltimore, Maryland, the driver was epileptic and suffered a seizure. In the November 21 crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the driver was speeding while using a cell phone and ran off the road. In both cases, the school bus operators were private for-hire motor carriers. Although the specific safety issues differed, the crashes shared one common factor: poor driver oversight by both the school districts and the contracted motor carriers, which resulted in unsafe operation of the school buses. Between the two crashes, 12 people died and 37 were injured. The crash investigations focused on the following safety issues: school districts’ lack of oversight of student transportation providers; poor management of unsafe school bus drivers by the motor carriers and school districts; medically unfit school bus drivers; commercial driver license fraud; occupant protection in large school buses; and the benefits of electronic stability control, automatic emergency braking, and event data recorders. The NTSB made safety recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); the states of Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York; 42 states, the District of Columbia, and the territory of Puerto Rico—which lack requirements for lap/shoulder belts on large school buses; the state of Maryland; the Maryland Department of Education; the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration; five school bus transportation associations; National Express LLC; seven school bus manufacturers; five electronic health record companies; and Concentra, Inc. The report also reiterates four recommendations to NHTSA and reclassifies a recommendation to the Baltimore City Public Schools.
Recommendation: TO BLUE BIRD CORPORATION, COLLINS INDUSTRIES, INC., IC BUS, STARCRAFT BUS, THOMAS BUILT BUSES, INC., TRANS TECH, AND VAN–CON, INC.: Install a collision avoidance system with automatic emergency braking as standard equipment on all newly manufactured school buses.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Await Response
Mode: Highway
Location: Chattanooga, TN, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: HWY17MH009
Accident Reports: Preliminary Report: HIGHWAY - HWY17MH009
Report #: SIR-18-02
Accident Date: 11/21/2016
Issue Date: 6/21/2018
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Blue Bird Corporation (Open - Await Response)
Collins Bus Corporation (Open - Await Response)
IC Bus (Open - Acceptable Response)
Starcraft Automotive Group, Inc. (Open - Acceptable Response)
Thomas Built Buses, Inc. (Open - Await Response)
Trans Tech (Open - Await Response)
Van-Con, Inc. (Open - Await Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Blue Bird Corporation
Date: 6/21/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On May 22, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Selective Issues in School Bus Transportation Safety: Crashes in Baltimore, Maryland, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, NTSB/SIR-18/02. The details of these investigations and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendations is one new recommendation issued to Blue Bird Corporation, which can be found on page 77 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement it. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendation by number. We encourage you to submit your response to correspondence@ntsb.gov. If it exceeds 10 megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.

From: NTSB
To: Collins Bus Corporation
Date: 6/21/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On May 22, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Selective Issues in School Bus Transportation Safety: Crashes in Baltimore, Maryland, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, NTSB/SIR-18/02. The details of these investigations and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendations is one new recommendation issued to Collins Industries, Inc., which can be found on page 77 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement it. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendation by number. We encourage you to submit your response to correspondence@ntsb.gov. If it exceeds 10 megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.

From: NTSB
To: IC Bus
Date: 1/28/2019
Response: We are pleased to note that, despite a lack of federal performance standards, all your air braked buses currently come standard with electronic stability control (ESC), and you plan to make AEB standard on them by mid-2019. In addition, you plan to have all your hydraulic-braked buses come standard with ESC by mid-2019, and you are developing effective AEB systems for these buses. We encourage you to continue finding compatible collision avoidance technologies and to install them as standard equipment on all your newly manufactured school buses. Pending such action, Safety Recommendation H-18-19 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: IC Bus
To: NTSB
Date: 9/14/2018
Response: -From Richard Kempf, Certification and Compliance: A fundamental building block in the development and deployment of an AEB system is Electronic Stability Control (ESC). IC Bus was the first to offer Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as standard on school buses equipped with air brakes and plans to have ESC as standard on all school buses by mid-year 2019. IC Bus was the first bus manufacturer to offer AEB as standard on any school bus equipped with air brakes and plans to have AEB as standard on all school buses equipped with air brakes by mid-year 2019. AEB on IC buses equipped with hydraulic brakes is still in the development stages and no AEB system is currently available for these types of buses. Navistar plans to offer AEB as standard for hydraulic braked school buses once this technology has been developed and validated for our buses.

From: NTSB
To: IC Bus
Date: 6/21/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On May 22, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Selective Issues in School Bus Transportation Safety: Crashes in Baltimore, Maryland, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, NTSB/SIR-18/02. The details of these investigations and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendations are two new recommendations issued to IC Bus, which can be found on page 77 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in these recommendations because they are designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement them. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendations by number. We encourage you to submit your response to correspondence@ntsb.gov. If it exceeds 10 megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.

From: NTSB
To: Starcraft Automotive Group, Inc.
Date: 10/1/2018
Response: We note that, despite a lack of federal performance standards, you are researching after market CASs that can be integrated into your vehicle chassis models. In addition, we are pleased to note that all your chassis models come standard with electronic stability control. We encourage you to continue finding compatible collision avoidance technologies and install them as standard equipment on all your newly manufactured school buses. Pending such action, Safety Recommendation H-18-9 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Starcraft Automotive Group, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 7/10/2018
Response: -From Donall Hasty, Compliance/ Development and ISO Manager, Forest River Bus DBE Liaison Officer: Starcraft Bus has fully reviewed the recommendations and data contained within the report. We would like to thank the NTSB for driving the effort to improve school bus safety. As a manufacturer of school buses, we take the utmost regard for safety in our bus design. Starcraft Bus offers electronic stability control (ESC) as standard on all of our General Motors school bus products. General Motors chassis are close to ninety percent of our school bus build. A majority of the remaining ten percent are mostly Ford Transit chassis models that also have ESC as a standard option. Currently, General Motors and Ford do not have crash avoidance systems (CAS) or automatic emergency braking (AEB) packages available for the stripped and cutaway chassis product lines. During our research, we were able to locate some after-market systems that are available for the medium/heavy duty vehicles and will be reviewing their applicability to our chassis models to ensure that they can be integrated. The technology such as Mobileye ADAS lane departure and forward collision detection are viable options currently in review as they offer active and passive warning systems. Currently they are working with chassis OEM’s on Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Centering (LC), and Traffic Jam Assist (TJA). Most of the technology that is offered is a warning system only (audible/visual alerts) and all of the active systems such as AEB seem to only be offered to the automotive chassis manufacturers to integrate during their build process. Starcraft has placed an email to Mobileye to learn more about the product line and details regarding the up-fit. Starcraft Bus agrees with the NTSB that every millisecond counts when a collision is imminent and will be recommending to our chassis representatives to develop advanced driver assistance systems such as CAS and AEB on their respective chassis designs for their future builds. We feel that as the technology develops and is offered on the stripped/cutaway chassis that we use to build our school buses, we will pursue those options and offer them on our product lines. Starcraft Bus will continue to review the ADAS technology currently offered and always have placed vehicle safety as our number one priority.

From: NTSB
To: Starcraft Automotive Group, Inc.
Date: 6/21/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On May 22, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Selective Issues in School Bus Transportation Safety: Crashes in Baltimore, Maryland, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, NTSB/SIR-18/02. The details of these investigations and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendation is one new recommendation issued to Starcraft Bus, which can be found on page 77 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement it. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendation by number. We encourage you to submit your response to correspondence@ntsb.gov. If it exceeds 10 megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.

From: NTSB
To: Thomas Built Buses, Inc.
Date: 6/21/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On May 22, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Selective Issues in School Bus Transportation Safety: Crashes in Baltimore, Maryland, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, NTSB/SIR-18/02. The details of these investigations and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendation is one new recommendation issued to Thomas Built Buses, Inc., which can be found on page 77 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement it. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendation by number. We encourage you to submit your response to correspondence@ntsb.gov. If it exceeds 10 megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.

From: NTSB
To: Trans Tech
Date: 6/21/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On May 22, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Selective Issues in School Bus Transportation Safety: Crashes in Baltimore, Maryland, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, NTSB/SIR-18/02. The details of these investigations and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendation is one new recommendation issued to Trans Tech, which can be found on page 77 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement it. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendation by number. We encourage you to submit your response to correspondence@ntsb.gov. If it exceeds 10 megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.

From: NTSB
To: Van-Con, Inc.
Date: 6/21/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On May 22, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Selective Issues in School Bus Transportation Safety: Crashes in Baltimore, Maryland, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, NTSB/SIR-18/02. The details of these investigations and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendation is one new recommendation issued to Van–Con, Inc., which can be found on page 77 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement it. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendation by number. We encourage you to submit your response to correspondence@ntsb.gov. If it exceeds 10 megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.