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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-01-031
Synopsis: On January 28, 2000, about 5:56 a.m. in Glendale, California, a tractor-combination vehicle, operated by Mercury Transportation, Inc., was transporting an oil refinery condenser unit. The vehicle missed a turn in its planned route, traversed a highway-railroad grade crossing, turned around, and was attempting to retraverse the crossing when it became lodged on the railroad tracks. About 90 seconds later, northbound Metrolink commuter train 901, operated by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, collided with the semitrailer. The engineer, conductor, and four passengers received minor injuries. Total damages were estimated to be over $2 million.
Recommendation: The NTSB recommends that the Federal Highway Administration: Develop model oversize/overweight vehicle movement guidelines. The guidelines should address, at a minimum, issues such as (1) when pilot cars and police escorts are required; (2) the training, testing, and certification of pilot car operators, police officers, and truckdrivers in the movement of oversize/overweight loads; (3) the use of height poles and traffic controls; (4) how to conduct route surveys; (5) the maneuvering limitations of heavy-haul vehicles; (6) the effects of fatigue on performance; (7) the need to assess the dangers at railroad crossings, particularly for low-clearance vehicles; and (8) the need and requirements to notify the railroads before an oversize/overweight vehicle is escorted across a highway/rail grade crossing.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Exceeds Recommended Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Glendale, CA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: HWY00FH027
Accident Reports: Collision Between Metrolink Train 901 and Mercury Transportation, Inc., Tractor- Semitrailer at Highway-Railroad Grade Crossing
Report #: HAR-01-02
Accident Date: 1/28/2000
Issue Date: 12/20/2001
Date Closed: 5/31/2005
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FHWA (Closed - Exceeds Recommended Action)
Keyword(s): Fatigue, Rail Crossing

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 5/31/2005
Response: The Safety Board appreciates receiving the Pilot Car Escort Best Practices Guidelines and the Law Enforcement Escort Best Practices Guidelines prepared by the SC&RA, the FHWA, and the CVSA in response to this recommendation. The Board notes that these documents were prepared with input from subject matter experts representing specialized carriers, pilot car escorts, permitting officials, Federal highway officials, State enforcement officers, and training specialists as well as many other government and industry entities. We note that the documents address all eight elements of the recommendation, including the need for escorts; training, testing, and certification needs; height poles and traffic controls; route surveys; maneuvering limitations; fatigue issues; railroad crossings; and highway-rail grade crossings. Again, the documents also address other important factors to consider for an oversize/overweight movement including maintaining a list of contacts, contingency plans, and communication needs. We also believe that the checklist contained in the Law Enforcement Best Practices Guidelines will prove to be particularly useful for oversize/overweight vehicle movements. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-01-31 is classified "Closed--Exceeds Recommended Action."

From: FHWA
Date: 1/18/2005
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 1/24/2005 9:29:18 AM MC# 2050023 The SC&RA and CVSA, with funds provided by a grant from FHWA's Office of Freight Management and Operations, developed Pilot Car Escort Best Practices Guidelines and Law Enforcement Escort Best Practices Guidelines. The guidelines have incorporated the eight recommendations of the NTSB. The contents of the guidelines are the result of extensive research and analysis conducted by both associations, a review of Federal and State regulations, analysis of existing pilot car escort training materials, and existing State enforcement practices and procedures. Input was solicited from subject matter experts representing specialized carriers, pilot car escorts, permitting officials, Federal highway officials, State enforcement officers, and training specialists. Input was also received from various entities, including the CVSA Size and Weight Committee, WASHTO, SASHTO, Keen Transport, Inc., DAWES Specialized Transportation, COMDATA, and SC&RA's Pilot Car Escort Training Project and Working Group. Their input is gratefully acknowledged. The FHWA served as a member of the SC&RA Working Group and the CVSA Size and Weight Committee. Enclosed are the three publications developed as a result of NTSB's recommendations. They are the Pilot Car Escort Best Practices Guidelines, Law Enforcement Escort Best Practices Guidelines, and Pilot Car Escort Training Manual. The FHWA believes that these documents, along with the extensive additional activities discussed above, have responded to the NTSB's recommendations. The FHWA respectfully requests that these recommendations be classified as Closed--Acceptable.