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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-13-032
Details
Synopsis: On Thursday, February 16, 2012, about 8:15 a.m. eastern standard time, near Chesterfield, New Jersey, a Garden State Transport Corporation 2012 IC Bus, LLC, school bus was transporting 25 kindergarten–sixth-grade students to Chesterfield Elementary School. The bus was traveling north on Burlington County Road (BCR) 660 through the intersection with BCR 528, while a Herman’s Trucking Inc. 2004 Mack roll-off1 truck with a fully loaded dump container was traveling east on BCR 528, approaching the intersection. The school bus driver had stopped at the flashing red traffic beacon and STOP sign. As the bus pulled away from just forward of the white stop line on BCR 660 and entered the intersection, it failed to yield to the truck and was struck behind the left rear axle. The bus rotated nearly 180 degrees and subsequently struck a traffic beacon support pole. One bus passenger was killed. Five bus passengers sustained serious injuries, 10 bus passengers and the bus driver received minor injuries, and nine bus passengers and the truck driver were uninjured. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determines that the probable cause of the Chesterfield, New Jersey, crash was the school bus driver’s failure to observe the Mack roll-off truck, which was approaching the intersection within a hazardous proximity. Contributing to the school bus driver’s reduced vigilance were cognitive decrements due to fatigue as a result of acute sleep loss, chronic sleep debt, and poor sleep quality, in combination with, and exacerbated by, sedative side effects from his use of prescription medications. Contributing to the severity of the crash was the truck driver’s operation of his vehicle in excess of the posted speed limit, in addition to his failure to ensure that the weight of the vehicle was within allowable operating restrictions. Further contributing to the severity of the crash were the defective brakes on the truck and its overweight condition due to poor vehicle oversight by Herman’s Trucking, along with improper installation of the lift axle brake system by the final stage manufacturer—all of which degraded the truck’s braking performance. Contributing to the severity of passenger injuries were the nonuse or misuse of school bus passenger lap belts; the lack of passenger protection from interior sidewalls, sidewall components, and seat frames; and the high lateral and rotational forces in the back portion of the bus.
Recommendation: TO THE STATES OF CALIFORNIA, FLORIDA, LOUISIANA, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, AND TEXAS: Develop: (1) a handout for your school districts to distribute annually to students and parents about the importance of the proper use of all types of passenger seat belts on school buses, including the potential harm of not wearing a seat belt or wearing one but not adjusting it properly; and (2) training procedures for schools to follow during the twice yearly emergency drills to show students how to wear their seat belts properly.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Await Response
Mode: Highway
Location: Chesterfield, NJ, United States
Is Reiterated: Yes
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: HWY12MH007
Accident Reports: School Bus and Truck Collision at Intersection
Report #: HAR-13-01
Accident Date: 2/16/2012
Issue Date: 9/9/2013
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: State of California (Open - Await Response)
State of Florida (Open - Initial Response Received)
State of Louisiana (Open - Await Response)
State of New Jersey (Open - Await Response)
State of New York (Open - Acceptable Response)
State of Texas (Open - Await Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: State of California
Date: 11/7/2016
Response: Reiterated in the Highway Accident Brief “School Bus Roadway Departure” Nohl Ranch Canyon Road, Anaheim, Orange County, California, April 24, 2014 Report Number: NTSB/HAB-16/06, published on November 7, 2016, Notation number 8782: In 2012, the NTSB investigated a school bus crash in Chesterfield, New Jersey.8 The school bus in that crash was equipped with passenger lap-only belts and, because several students were wearing the belts improperly or not at all, the NTSB recommended that the states of California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas— Develop (1) a handout for your school districts to distribute annually to students and parents about the importance of the proper use of all types of passenger seat belts on school buses, including the potential harm of not wearing a seat belt or wearing one but not adjusting it properly; and (2) training procedures for schools to follow during the twice yearly emergency drills to show students how to wear their seat belts properly. (H-13-32) This recommendation is currently classified “Open—Await Response” for the state of California. Because several students and the bus driver were not properly wearing the available lap/shoulder belts while the Anaheim school bus was in motion, the NTSB reiterates Safety Recommendation H-13-32 to the state of California.

From: NTSB
To: State of California
Date: 9/4/2014
Response: Has California taken action to implement this recommendation?

From: State of Florida
To: NTSB
Date: 1/22/2015
Response: -From Lora Bailey Hollingsworth, P.E., Chief Safety Officer, Highway Safety Coordinator: Yes, Rule 6A-3.0121, Florida Administrative Code, requires districts and charter schools to inform parents, guardians, and students at least annually in writing of their own responsibilities for safe travel to and from school or the bus stop and their homes. To assist schools in fulfilling this responsibility, the FDOE offices of School Transportation and Safe Schools have developed the enclosed brochure, “Are We There Yet?: Staying Safe Between Home and School.” This brochure offers tips to parents, guardians, and students on how to stay safe, especially when the students are not with school officials who can help protect them. Close H-13-32.

From: NTSB
To: State of Florida
Date: 9/4/2014
Response: Has Florida taken action to implement this recommendation?

From: NTSB
To: State of Louisiana
Date: 9/4/2014
Response: Has Louisiana taken action to implement this recommendation?

From: NTSB
To: State of New Jersey
Date: 9/4/2014
Response: Has New Jersey taken action to implement this recommendation?

From: State of New York
To: NTSB
Date: 9/9/2015
Response: -From Charles R. DeWeese, Assistant Commissioner, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee: Section 383(5)(a) of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) mandates that all school buses manufactured for use in this state on and after July 1, 1987 be equipped with seat belts. Section 3635-a of the Education Law provides that the local school district shall decide whether students must wear seat belts on school buses. Since the mandate by the VTL is only for the presence of the two point lap belt and that the New York State Education Department does not mandate the use of the belts, legislation would be required to mandate the use of the belts. There have been bills introduced as recently as the 2015/2016 session (A2310) but such bills have never passed. The NYS GTSC will suggest to the New York State Board of Regents for the State Education Department to stress the importance of continuing education through the use of handouts pertaining to student seatbelt use for the school districts who decide to adopt a policy mandating the use of seatbelts for all bus riders. In addition, the New York State Education Department does require three school bus safety drills per school year where proper instruction on the use of seatbelts is presented. Each year the superintendent of schools certifies to the New York State Education Department that drills with the accompanying instruction have been conducted for all pupils.

From: NTSB
To: State of New York
Date: 6/12/2015
Response: We note that you provide emergency planning and evacuation training for your school bus drivers and require three safety drills during each school year. The evacuation checklist that Mr. DeWeese included in his e-mail would help school bus drivers in completing these drills and addresses the second part of this recommendation. The development of a handout that directly informs students and parents about the importance of wearing, and the proper use of, seat belts may result in increased use by students and would address the first part of this recommendation. Pending your taking such action, Safety Recommendation H 13-32 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: State of New York
To: NTSB
Date: 11/4/2014
Response: -From Chuck DeWeese, Assistant Commissioner, Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee: On behalf of New York State DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala, I have attached the updates on Open NTSB Highway Safety Recommendations. New York continues to make progress on some of the outstanding issues but, as you are aware, many of the areas of concern require legislative action which often takes years to achieve passage. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles remains committed to the safety of transportation on our highways and will continue to seek improvements, including those recommended by the NTSB. Please advise if you have any questions. Below is the handout with the instructions that the State Education department (SED) approves to talk about seat belts. The SED website also states that: “Requirements for Student School Bus Safety Drills. School districts are required to conduct training and three (3) safety drills for all students at prescribed times during each school year. The superintendent certifies to SED that the instruction and drills have been conducted for all pupils.”

From: NTSB
To: State of New York
Date: 9/4/2014
Response: Has New York taken any action to address this recommendation?

From: NTSB
To: State of Texas
Date: 9/4/2014
Response: Has Texas taken any action to address this recommendation?