Highway Accident Report: Motorcoach Median Crossover and Collision with Sport Utility Vehicle, Hewitt, Texas, February 14, 2003

On February 14, 2003, about 9:59 a.m., central standard time, a 1996 Dina Viaggio motorcoach, operated by Central Texas Trails, Inc., and occupied by a driver and 34 passengers, was traveling northbound on Interstate 35 near Hewitt, Texas. The weather was overcast with reduced visibility due to fog, haze, and heavy rain. As the motorcoach approached the crest of a hill, the bus driver said he observed brake lights ahead of him and began to brake lightly. The bus driver said that as he moved from the right lane into the left lane, another vehicle ahead of the bus also moved over, so he braked harder and the rear of the bus skidded. The bus driver was unable to maintain control of the bus as it departed the left side of the roadway, crossed the grassy median, entered the southbound lanes, and collided with a 2002 Chevrolet Suburban sport utility vehicle (Suburban) occupied by a driver and two passengers. The motorcoach then overturned on its right side, rotated, and slid to final rest facing south against a concrete embankment on the side of the road. The Suburban rotated 180 degrees, began to climb the embankment, slid back down, and came to rest facing north and against the roof of the bus. Five motorcoach passengers, the Suburban driver, and one Suburban passenger sustained fatal injuries. The bus driver sustained serious injuries; the remaining passengers on the bus and in the Suburban sustained injuries ranging from minor to serious. Major safety issues identified in this accident include: sight distance and speed as they relate to roadway design; roadway and tire friction interaction, particularly between commercial vehicle tires and wet pavement; the effect on vehicle stability of differing front and rear tire tread depths; and the need to better identify areas with a high risk of wet weather accidents and implement the necessary roadway improvements. As a result of this investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board makes recommendations to the Federal Highway Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the Texas Department of Transportation.


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Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 80p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01010899
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NTSB/HAR-05/02, Notation 7727A
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 30 2005 2:35PM