The National Tour Bus Hits Moose; Tour Keeps Trucking

Moose Tracks
AJ Faber
– Moose Tracks
Damage to The National’s tour bus is seen after it hit a moose June 21.
The National’s tour bus, along with two buses of crew, were headed to Montreal in the wee hours of June 21 after playing Thompson’s Point in Portland, Maine, when a moose suddenly appeared that rainy morning on a two-lane section of Route 302.  
The moose “surprised me, shocked me and scared me a little bit,” Motorcoach operator Rodney Holloway of Celebrity Coaches told Pollstar. “By the time I saw it, it was too late. I had no choice other than to hit it.”
Holloway, who has been driving buses since 2005, added, “You never want to swerve or anything like that in a motor coach because of course that could make it worse.” 
While all of the crew members on board was safe and didn’t sustain any injuries, the same couldn’t be said for the moose – or the bus. 
“There was a lot of damage to the bus – both front windshields were broken, the front end was pushed in, the headlight on the passenger side and the passenger door were all pushed out of the frame,” Holloway says. 
The moose reportedly died on impact or shortly thereafter. 
Immediately after the road incident happened around 4 a.m., Holloway pulled over on the side of the road, near the town of Carroll in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  
The Cincinnati-based indie rock band was in a bus up ahead of Holloway, along with another bus of crew. As for Holloway’s bus of crew members, he noted that when he went to the bunk area of the bus to ask if anyone had cell service, that’s the first the crew members knew anything had happened, having slept through the moose mishap. 
After calling Celebrity Coaches and 911 to report the incident, Holloway stayed behind for the inspection and the crew members on his bus split up to ride with The Nationals’ other two buses, continuing on the road to make it to the band’s June 21 show at Place des Arts in Montreal. 
Holloway, who was covered in glass from the bus’ broken windshield, checked into a hotel to shower and clean off the glass and then rented a car and caught a flight to make it home, before hitting the road again. He chatted with Pollstar earlier this week while prepping to tour with Justin Moore, followed by an excursion with Carrie Underwood. 
For other bus drivers looking for safety tips for encountering unexpected road blocks, Holloway reiterated that you should never swerve. 
“If you swerve you could run off the road or turn [the bus] over on its side” Holloway said. “I live in Illinois, so of course we have a huge deer population. The same thing — you never want to swerve because as sure if you swerve to the left or the right, it’s going to go the direction you’re going and you’re going to end up hitting it anyway. I’ve been told that by many people.” 
For general best practices staying safe on the road, Holloway added, “Watch ahead of you and make sure that you’re keeping track of everything –and go slow. I was probably going between 40 and 45 when I struck the moose. I really wasn’t going very fast.  … 
“DOT [trucking regulations] say you can only drive 10 hours from start to finish and then be on duty 15 hours. I myself try to stop every couple hours, two, two and a half, three hours at most, straighten up, walk around a little bit, take a bit of a break.”