Highway Accident Brief: Collision of Two School Buses with Subsequent Rollover, Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee, December 2, 2014

On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, about 2:52 p.m. eastern standard time, a 2001 Thomas Built transit-style school bus, identified as bus #57, was transporting 18 students and an adult teacher’s aide from Sunny View Primary School in Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee. The bus was traveling westbound in the left lane of Asheville Highway and had just crossed the intersection with John Sevier Highway (East). In the meantime, a 2000 Navistar International transit-style school bus, identified as bus #44, was traveling eastbound in the left lane of Asheville Highway transporting 22 students from Chilhowee Intermediate School. As bus #44 approached the signalized intersection with John Sevier Highway, traffic in front of the bus was stopped at the intersection. The driver of bus #44 swerved left to avoid the stopped traffic and crossed a 30-foot-wide painted median into the westbound lanes of Asheville Highway. The front of bus #44 collided with the left (driver) side of bus #57. Following the initial impact, bus #57 rotated counter-clockwise (about 90 degrees); the vehicle partially departed the roadway, slid onto the shoulder, and collided with a barricade made of five steel poles embedded in a concrete curb, before overturning onto its right side. As a result of the crash, the adult teacher’s aide, who was reportedly seated on the left side near the rear axle of bus #57, died. Additionally, two student passengers seated near the impact zone on the left side of bus #57 received fatal injuries. Occupants of both vehicles received injuries of varying degrees. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) initiated a field investigation of this crash with an emphasis on the human performance issues related to distracted vehicle operation. ​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the December 2, 2014, collision between two school buses near Knoxville, Tennessee, was the late reaction and subsequent loss of control by the driver of bus #44 when he swerved to avoid traffic stopped ahead of him due to distraction caused by his reading a text message on his cell phone while driving. Contributing to the severity of the injuries were the crash dynamics and interaction between school bus #44 and school bus #57, resulting in school bus #57 rotating counter-clockwise approximately 90 degrees and subsequently striking a barricade before overturning onto its side, causing the passengers to be displaced from their seating positions.


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Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Photos; Tables;
  • Pagination: 10p
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01600769
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NTSB/HAB-16/04, Accident Number: HWY15FH002
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 25 2016 7:45AM