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Accident Investigation Simulations

School bus run-off the road, collision with guardrail, bridge rail and vault
near Omaha, Nebraska
October 13, 2001
Highway Accident Report

Videos are available in wmv format, and were presented at the Board meeting on January 27, 2004 in Washington, D.C.

Disclaimer: Simulations presented below used scene surveys, vehicle testing, and vehicle operating characteristics. The depictions do not represent actual lighting and weather conditions at the time of the accident.

Vehicle Dynamics: Five different views of the vehicle dynamics were rendered to show various perspectives of the crash. Prior to the crash the Seward District school bus (the accident bus), had entered into a two-way, two-lane construction site approaching a bridge. The Seward bus’s initial speed in the simulation was 40 mph and the speed of the bus increased to about 43 mph as it traveled downhill approaching the bridge. Approaching the Seward bus from the opposite direction were 3 buses transporting the Norfolk band. The speed of these buses varied between 40 and 35 mph. Near the bridge the Seward bus went off the road and struck the guardrail, the bridge rail, and then rolled off the bridge and vaulted into the streambed below.

Chase view of the Seward bus's approach
Video 1  school bus chase view.  OmahaChase.wmv (Video = 1.28 MB)

This view is a chase view of the Seward District school bus as it approaches the bridge, strikes the guardrail, swerves and goes through the bridge rail.


Fixed side view at the bridge
Video 2  fixed side view at bridge.  OmahaSideView.wmv (Video = 0.68 MB)

This view is a fixed view at the bridge that shows the bus striking the guardrail, swerving, striking the bridge rail and rolling as it vaults to the streambed below.


Seward bus driver's potential front view
Video 3  bus driver's potential front view.  OmahaBusDriversPotentialView.wmv (Video = 1.23 MB)

This view shows the driver’s potential front view as he negotiates the construction zone and the approach of the three opposing buses.


A chase view of the approach of the opposing buses
Video 4  chase view of approach of opposing buses.  OncomingBusChase.wmv (Video = 0.80 MB)

This view is a chase view that shows the approach of the three Norfolk buses and the path of the Seward bus as it strikes the guardrail and the bridge rail.


Animation of the bus’s collision with the bridge rail
Video 5  bus collision with bridge rail.  OmahaRailNTSB.wmv (Video = 0.68 MB)

This view is an animation that shows the bus striking a segment of the bridge rail before it rolled off the bridge.


The simulations were produced on an HVE™ system using SIMON™, EDSMAC4™, and EDGEN™ programs. All of the programs are trademarks of the Engineering Dynamics Corporation. The movies were produced in Adobe Premiere™. The program is a trademark of the Adobe Systems Incorporated.

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