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Vehicle Accident Scenario Essay

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On March 12, 2011 at 5:38 a.m. a driver operating a passenger motorcoach fell asleep at the wheel and drifted off of Interstate 95 southbound. The motorcoach collided with a guardrail and continued to be in contact with the guardrail for 480 feet. The guardrail began to weaken and eventually failed, causing the motorcoach to overturn by 90° on the right side. The motorcoach continued to travel at a high rate of speed on its side and was ultimately intruded by a vertical signpost that almost completely separated the roof from the motorcoach. As a result, fifteen passengers died and seventeen were injured.
Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS)
The unsafe act of the motorcoach driver exceeding the posted speed limit of 50 mph is a routine violation on Interstate 95. The excessive rate of speed contributed to the degree of motorcoach wreckage as well as the severity of passenger injuries. If the driver had applied evasive braking maneuvers, the motorcoach speed could have been reduced and the rollover event may not have occurred.
With respect to the condition of the operator, the NTSB concluded that the motorcoach driver was impaired by fatigue at the time of the accident. More specifically, the report explains that the driver was experiencing both acute sleep loss and cumulative sleep debt at the time of the accident. Assuming that the driver would have been suffering from both mental and physical fatigue, this operator condition can be classified as both an adverse mental state and adverse physiological state.
Related to the condition of the operator, and in light of evidence that he was suffering from fatigue-induced performance impairment, it should be noted that personnel factors, specifically, fitness for dut...


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...s could have potentially addressed the accident driver’s hours of service violations and subpar fitness for duty. Moreover, continued actions by Great Escapes drivers indicating that adherence to hours of service rules was not a company priority was symptomatic of an illness intrinsic to the corporate culture.




Works Cited

National Transportation Safety Board. (2012). Motorcoach Run-Off-the-Road and Collision With Vertical Highway Signpost Interstate 95 Southbound (NTSB Publication No. PB2012-916201; Accident Docket No. HWY11MH005). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from: http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/reports_highway.html

Weigmann, D. A. and Shappell, S. A. (2003). A Human Factors Approach to Aviation Accident Investigation: The Human Factors Analysis and Classification System, Ashgate Publishing Company: Aldershot, Great Britain.




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