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On March 12, 2011, about 5:38 a.m., a 1999 Prevost 56-passenger motorcoach, operated by World Wide Travel of Greater New York, headquartered in Brooklyn, was traveling southbound on Interstate 95, en route from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, to New York City, and carrying 32 passengers. While in the vicinity of mile marker 3.2, the motorcoach departed from the travel lanes to the right, driving over the rumble strips on the right shoulder edge. The motorcoach then crossed over the 10-foot-wide paved shoulder and struck a strong-post W-beam guardrail, traveling about 480 feet alongside and on the guardrail, before finally overturning 90° onto its right side and flattening the guardrail. The front of the vehicle subsequently collided with a vertical highway signpost consisting of two vertical 8-inch-diameter steel tubular poles linked by cross-beam diagonal metal supports. The front roof also collided with a steel electrical box mounted to the sign support structure. After the motorcoach struck the support structure and electrical box, the two poles entered the passenger compartment along the base of the passenger windows as the vehicle slid forward. The impact resulted in the roof panel being torn from the bus body for almost the entire length of the bus. As a result of this accident, 15 passengers were killed, 17 passengers received serious-to-minor injuries, and the bus driver received minor injuries.
TO THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Evaluate the effects of seat spacing and armrests as factors for potential occupant injury, and if safer spacing or armrest configurations are identified, develop and implement appropriate guidelines.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Open - Unacceptable Response
New York City, NY, United States
Motorcoach Run-Off-the-Road and Collision With Vertical Highway Signpost, Interstate 95 Southbound
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
NHTSA (Open - Unacceptable Response)
Safety Recommendation History
We are disappointed that we have not received an update from you regarding any substantive actions you have planned to address seat-spacing and armrest configurations. Failure to address this important safety issue places motorcoach occupants at risk. Please send us an update outlining your planned actions and a timeline for addressing this recommendation. Pending such information, Safety Recommendation H-12-22 is classified OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
We note that, prompted by provisions of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), NHTSA is moving forward with research related to impact protection and compartmentalization for belted and unbelted motorcoach occupants. Pending completion of the research and publication of the recommended guidelines, Safety Recommendation H-12-22 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
-From David L. Strickland, Administrator: Sections 32705(a)(1)-(2) of MAP-21 require that NHTSA complete research related to impact protection and compartmentalization for motorcoach occupants within 3 years from enactment. The agency has performed a limited amount of impact testing to date and is in the process of developing plans for additional impact testing in fiscal year 2013. NHTSA is also developing research plans for analyzing issues associated with unbelted occupant compartmentalization, including the effect of seat spacing. Based on our plans to fulfill the research in the MAP-21 legislation, we recommend that this recommendation be classified as Open-Acceptable Response.
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