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On January 6, 2008, about 3:15 p.m. mountain standard time, a 2007 Motor Coach Industries 56-passenger motorcoach with a driver and 52 passengers on board departed Telluride, Colorado, en route to Phoenix, Arizona, as part of a 17-motorcoach charter. The motorcoach passengers were returning from a 3-day ski trip. The normal route from Telluride to Phoenix along Colorado State Route 145 was closed due to snow, and the lead driver planned an alternate route that included U.S. Route 163/191 through Utah. About 8:02 p.m., the motorcoach was traveling southbound, descending a 5.6-percent grade leading to a curve to the left, 1,800 feet north of milepost 29 on U.S. Route 163. The weather was cloudy, and the roadway was dry at the time of the accident. After entering the curve, the motorcoach departed the right side of the roadway at a shallow angle, striking the guardrail with the right-rear wheel and lower coach body about 61 feet before the end of the guardrail. The motorcoach traveled approximately 350 feet along the foreslope (portion of roadside sloping away from the roadway), with the right tires off the roadway. The back tires lost traction as the foreslope transitioned into the drainage ditch.
TO THE AMERICAN BUS ASSOCIATION AND THE UNITED MOTORCOACH ASSOCIATION: Inform your members through Web sites, newsletters, and conferences of the circumstances of the Mexican Hat, Utah, accident. The prepared information should encourage charter operators to develop written contingency plans for each charter to ensure that trip planning is in place in the event of driver fatigue, incapacitation, or illness or in the event of trip delays necessitating replacement drivers to avoid hours-of-service violations and inform drivers of their trip’s contingency plans. The prepared information should also provide information about the risks of operating in rural areas without wireless telephone coverage and advise members to carry mobile cellular amplifiers or satellite-based devices to communicate emergency events.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Open - Await Response
Mexican Hat, UT, United States
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
American Bus Association (Open - Await Response)
United Motorcoach Association (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Safety Recommendation History
American Bus Association
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.
United Motorcoach Association
We note that you published an article in the May 15, 2009, edition of Bus and Motorcoach NEWS, informing your membership of the circumstances of the Mexican Hat accident and the ongoing challenges of fatigue management and route and contingency planning and that you regularly discuss these issues at the educational sessions offered at your annual conference. As these actions satisfy the intent of Safety Recommendation H-09-9, the recommendation is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.
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