The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported that roadway design, wet pavement and tire conditions were all factors in a February 2003 motorcoach crash that killed seven people.
On Feb. 14, 2003, a Central Texas Trails Inc. motorcoach traveling on Interstate 35 near Hewitt, Texas, ran off the road, crossed the median and collided head on with an SUV. Five motorcoach passengers, the SUV driver and one passenger were killed in the accident.
The NTSB’s investigation determined that the wet pavement at the accident site, combined with Interstate 35’s roadway geometry and a speed limit (70 mph) that exceeded the road’s design speed, did not provide drivers with enough time to stop their vehicles.
The federal watchdog safety agency also determined that the low, but legal, tread depth of the coach’s rear tires made them unable to channel water out from between the tires and the roadway, further reducing friction.
A synopsis of the report, including a complete list of conclusions and recommendations can be found at www.ntsb.gov.