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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-73-015
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 INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE: USE ITS INFLUENCE AND RESOURCES TO REDIRECT THE ATTENTION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES TO THE NEED FOR UNIFORM ENFORCEMENT OF TRAFFIC LAWS PERTAINING TO RAILROAD/ HIGHWAY GRADE CROSSINGS (1963 IACP RESOLUTION F-18, HIGHWAY SAFETY POLICIES FOR POLICE EXECUTIVES). SUCH ENFORCEMENT SHOULD PROVIDE SPECIAL EMPHASIS ON THOSE CROSSINGS PROTECTED SOLELY WITH STOP SIGNS.
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Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: International Association of Chiefs of Police (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: International Association of Chiefs of Police
To: NTSB
Date: 6/26/1973
Response: INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHIEF'S OF POLICE (IACP) LETTER S THAT THE RECOMMENDATION HAS BEEN REFERRED TO THE IACP HIGHWAY SAFETY COMMITTEE FOR CONSIDERATION AND APPROPRIATE ACTION ON JULY 9 AND 10, 1973. JULY 10, 1973 THE HIGHWAY SAFETY COMMITTEE OF THE IACP, AT ITS MID-YEAR MEETING DECLINED TO TAKE ANY ACTION ON THIS RECOMMENDATION. THEY FELT THAT THEIR 1963 POSITION STATEMENT "ENFORCEMENT OF TRAFFIC LAWS AT GRADE CROSSINGS" WAS APPROPOS. IN THEIR ANNUAL REPORT, THEY WILL CALL THIS POSITION STATEMENT TO THE ATTENTION OF ITS MEMBERSHIP. THE POSITION STATEMENT READS AS FOLLOWS: NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, THAT THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE BY THIS RESOLUTION CALL UPON ALL STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL POLICE AGENCIES IN ITS MEMBERSHIP TO CONTINUE GIVING VIGOROUS ATTENTION TO THE ENFORCEMENT OF TRAFFIC LAWS GOVERNING THE MOVEMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAINS AT RAILROADGRADE CROSSINGS, AND THAT INSOFAR AS POSSIBLE THE EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES OF THESE AGENCIES BE USED TO REMIND MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATORS OF THE HAZARDS EXISTING AT HIGHWAY RAILROAD GRADE CROSSINGS.