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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-73-011
Details
Synopsis: AT ABOUT 7:55 A.M., ON FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 1972, AN EASTBOUND SCHOOLBUS WAS DRIVEN ACROSS A GRADE CROSSING ON GILCHRIST ROAD, NEAR CONGERS, N.Y., AND WAS STRUCK BY THE LEAD LOCOMOTIVE OF A NORTHBOUND PENN CENTRAL FREIGHT TRAIN. EXCEPT FOR A STOP SIGN, AT WHICH THE BUSDRIVER FAILED TO STOP, AND A STANDARD RAILROAD-CROSSING SIGN, THE CROSSING WAS NOT SPECIALLY PROTECTED. AFTER IMPACT THE SCHOOLBUS WAS DRIVEN 1,116 FEET DOWN THE TRACK BY THE TRAIN, AND THE BODY STRUCTURE OF THE BUS DISINTEGRATED. THE REAR SECTION OF THE BUS WAS TORN LOOSE, FELL BESIDE THE TRACK, AND OVERTURNED WITH A NUMBER OF STUDENTS UNDERNEATH. TWO OF THE SEVERAL STUDENTS WHO WERE EJECTED FROM THE REMAINING PORTION OF THE BUS PASSED THROUGH SEPARATED FLOOR SECTIONS AND FELL BETWEEN THE RAILS INTO THE PATH OF THE TRAIN. AS A RESULT OF THE ACCIDENT FIVE STUDENTS DIED, AND THE BUSDRIVER AND ALL 44 REMAINING STUDENTS WERE INJURED. NONE OF THE TRAIN CREW WAS INJURED.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: IN ITS REVISION OF THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY SAFETY PROGRAM STANDARDS, INCLUDE A PROVISION UNDER THE TITLE, PUPIL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY, WHICH WOULD REQUIRE THOSE PERSONS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HIRING AND SUPERVISION OF SCHOOLBUS DRIVERS TO CONDUCT PREEMPLOYMENT INQUIRIES AND CONTINUED SURVEILLANCE TO ASSURE THAT OTHER EMPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS OF SCHOOLBUS DRIVERS DO NOT ADVERSELY INFLUENCE THEIR SCHOOLBUS DRIVING.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Congers, NY, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: 79801
Accident Reports: ​Penn Central Freight Train / Schoolbus Collision
Report #: RHR-73-01
Accident Date: 3/24/1972
Issue Date: 3/30/1973
Date Closed: 1/1/1980
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: NHTSA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 6/29/1973
Response: NHTSA LETTER ACKNOWLEDGES RECEIPT OF COPIES OF THE REPORT. IT THAT THE TECHNICAL STAFFS OF THE TRAFFIC SAFETY PROGRAMS AND MOTOR VEHICLE PROGRAMS ARE STUDYING THE REPORT AND THEIR REPLY WILL BE FORWARDED THROUGH THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR SAFETY AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS. MAY 28, 1974 NHTSA LETTER GENERALLY AGREES WITH THIS RECOMMENDATION. THEY GO ON TO SAY THAT SCHOOLBUS DRIVING IS A SECONDJOB FOR MOST MEN AND WOMEN. MORE WOMEN ARE DRIVING BUSES. THE LIMITING OF WORKING HOURS AS WOULD BE REQUIRED BY MCS REGULATIONS, COULD AFFECT A LARGE NUMBER OF MALE DRIVERS. THE ECONOMIC PROBLEMS CREATED BY SUCH A REGULATION NEEDS CAREFUL STUDY. 1-17-75: THE NHTSASTATES THAT STATE REQUIREMENTS ARE GUIDING FACTOR UNDER HSPS #17.