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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 ARROW STAGE LINES: 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.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Open - Acceptable Response
Mexican Hat, UT, United States
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
Arrow Stage Lines (Open - Acceptable Response)
Safety Recommendation History
Arrow Stage Lines
Staff contacted Recipient; An update will be provided in 2-3 months.
Arrow Stage Lines
CC# 201100082: - From Bruce Neuharth, President: Thank you for your letter and inquiry addressed to Doyle Busskohl on January 31, 2011. Thank you also for additional time in which Busco can address the questions and concerns of the National Transportation Safety Board regarding Safety (NTSB) Recommendation H-09-10. Busco fully intends to complete our response to the inquiry, and will offer you our required contingency plan for your review. As you know, Busco is also in the midst of ongoing and active civil litigation involving the accident in Mexican Hat, Utah on January 6 , 2008. Busco understands that its responsive letter to the NTSB will be a matter of public record, and it will be accessible to others who may wish, and attempt, to use any communications and their content against Busco in our pending lawsuits. While full disclosure to the NTSB is desired, please understand that the NTSB's purpose for requesting such information (to include improvements and prevention) is not the same as the purpose for which other persons and entities will attempt to use this information against Busco, either for financial gain or to exculpate themselves from civil responsibility. As President of Busco, Inc. I appreciate the NTS8's sensitivity to our situation. I will complete our written response which will accurately outline our methods for continuous improvement and prevention, following our litigation as outlined in my letter. Thank you for allowing our company the time in which to complete this necessary response.
Arrow Stage Lines
Although Arrow Stage Lines has completed a plan that addresses driver fatigue, illness, altitude, sleep disorders, hours of service, and trip scheduling, the plan does not satisfy the NTSB’s intent for the company to develop written plans describing how it will address possible contingencies before they occur; rather, the plan appears to place responsibility for reacting to problems that arise during a trip on the driver. We are concerned that, except for their existence in written form, these plans have changed little, if at all, from those that were in place and led to this accident. In addition, we need clarification on several other points before we can determine that the intent of the recommendation has been met. Specifically, please provide information explaining how a dispatcher will determine whether a driver is fit to drive after reporting illness, altitude issues, or fatigue. What criteria will be used and what are the bases for these criteria? What training will be given to the dispatcher regarding these criteria, their implementation, and unforeseen circumstances that could arise? How will the company measure the effectiveness of this approach? Also, how is the plan different from the company’s procedures at the time of the accident? The plan’s discussion of sleep disorders, obstructive sleep apnea, and the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is unclear and confusing; these items need to be addressed more explicitly. More detailed guidance for the dispatcher about decision-making regarding the driver’s use of a CPAP machine is needed, and the basis for this decision-making should be specified. Finally, the NTSB has concerns regarding the section that states that the “operator advisement to dispatch regarding any category of fatigue will be documented…and stored in the employee’s file.” We request clarification regarding what documents will be placed in an employee’s file, as we want to ensure that Arrow Stage Line drivers do not interpret this statement as discouraging them from calling in to report themselves fatigued. The intent of this recommendation is to ensure a plan that proactively addresses common situations that might force or encourage a driver to operate while impaired, and instead, ensures that options are available—and used—to avoid impaired driving. Accordingly, pending the completion, and our review, of a contingency plan that includes preplanning, that addresses the above questions, and that provides clarification regarding what documents related to the plan may be placed in employee files, Safety Recommendation H-09-10 is classified OPEN – ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
Arrow Stage Lines
MC# 2090448 - From Kimball Kinnersley, Corporate Director of Safety - On behalf of Busco, Inc., Arrow Stage Lines, and Corporate Transportation 'N Tours, I am submittin gour response to the recommendations given in H-09-10. We will be distributing [the attached] document to our locations, as well as providing training in regards to same. Contingency Planning for various issues will sit under the umbrella of our Crisis Management Plan, and will be subject to on-going additions and revisions.
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