Resources Safety Related Articles NTSB Investigation of Conasauga Train-School Bus Collision
NTSB Investigation of Conasauga Train-School Bus Collision PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ryan Gray   
Tuesday, 28 March 2000 08:33

Following are the findings from the NTSB investigation into the 2000 school bus-train collision occuring just over the Georgia border in Conasauga, Tenn.:

Train School Bus Collision: Conasauga, Tennessee (aka. Tennga on the Tennessee-Georgia border)

Time and Date: 7:16 a.m., March 28, 2000

Weather conditions: Mostly clear, light sprinkles in area.

Event: School bus is struck by a freight train at a passive rail-highway grade crossing.

Injuries: Two school bus passengers die, five school bus passengers and school bus driver injured.

Accident report: National Transportation Safety Board, Highway Accident Report/01-03 (available in PDF format)

Description of collision: A 33-car southbound CSX freight train headed to Tampa, Fla. traveling at approximately 51 mph struck a school bus operated by Murray County, Georgia, School District, as the school bus was crossing the tracks at a speed of approximately 15 mph. During the accident sequence, the driver and three children were ejected. Two ejected passengers received serious injuries and one was fatally injured. The driver, who had been wearing a lap/shoulder belt that broke during the crash sequence, received minor injuries. Of the four passengers who remained inside the bus, two were fatally injured, one sustained serious injuries, and one, who was restrained by a lap belt, received minor injuries. The collission occured a at a grade crossing marked only with cross buck signs. The bus split in two with the bus body coming to rest about 50-100 feet further down the track than the chassis. The train engineer said he blew his whistle before striking the school bus.

Video: Video simulations of this collision were developed by the National Transportation Safety Board, and shown at the Board meeting on 12/11/00. The simulations can be viewed as avi files (formatted as Video for Windows, software available for download from the NTSB web site is Microsoft MediaPlayer.) A slide show presentation of the accident is also available containing several photographs of the accident scene.

Probable Cause: "The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collision was the school bus driver's failure to stop before traversing the railroad/highway grade crossing. Contributing to the accident was the Murray County, Georgia, School District's failure to monitor busdriver performance and its lack of school bus route planning to identify hazards on school bus routes and to eliminate the necessity of crossing railroad tracks. Contributing to the injuries of the school bus passengers outside of the area of intrusion were incomplete compartmentalization and a lack of energy-absorbing material on interior surfaces." (quoted from report)


Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 October 2009 15:48