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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-01-034
Details
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 and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials: Encourage the States to adopt the model oversize/overweight vehicle movement guidelines, as addressed in Safety Recommendations H-01-31 and -33, and once developed, to require that oversize/overweight vehicle movements conform to the guidelines.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Glendale, CA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: 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: 7/23/2007
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (Closed - Acceptable Action)
FHWA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 8/29/2008
Response: The Safety Board notes that the FHWA collaborated with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to develop a publication on oversize/overweight vehicle escort best practices, titled Pilot Car Escort: Best Practices Guidelines. The publication was distributed to AASHTO members and is available on the FHWA website, . In addition to these actions, the agency will continue to encourage States and the industry to adopt and use the guidelines through its Truck Size and Weight Program and its partnerships with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association. Because permitting authority rests with the States, and the FHWA does not have the statutory authority to mandate or require adoption of the guidelines, the agency is working through its partnerships with the States to achieve adoption. The FHWA also initiated a truck size and weight educational course that will be offered to State officials with commercial motor vehicle size and weight responsibilities, including issuance of permits for over-dimensional vehicles. The pilot course was held in April; the FHWA anticipates offering it approximately four times a year. The Board commends the FHWA for its comprehensive actions in response to this recommendation; accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-01-34 is classified Closed Acceptable Action.

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/21/2008
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 3/31/2008 1:49:23 PM MC# 2080161: The FHWA and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO) Subcommittee on Highway Transport have collaborated on the development of Pilot Car Escort Best Practices Guidelines, have disseminated the publication to AASHTO members, and have encouraged its use on the FHWA Web site, http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/documents/pilotcar_bpguideline/pilot_car.pdf. In our letter to NTSB dated January 18, 2005, we wrote that we had developed specific marketing objectives to meet the intent of this recommendation. While those specific marketing activities are now complete, we do not consider our marketing efforts to be just a one-time effort. Many of these activities will continue to be part of FHWA’s Truck Size and Weight Program. The Pilot Car Escort Best Practices Guidelines and the Law Enforcement Escort Best Practices Guidelines are prominently displayed on the FHWA Web site that serves the size and weight community, http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/size_weight.htm. We have worked extensively with AASHTO’s Subcommittee on Highway Transport to further integrate these best practices into the manner in which the community does business. During the Subcommittee’s meeting held in New Orleans in June 2007 a draft recommendation encouraging adoption of the Best Practices Guidelines was circulated for acceptance. There was also a recent discussion on the escort guidelines, as well as the equipment guidelines, at the Subcommittee’s meeting in Washington, DC, on February 21 and 22, 2008. Over the past 2 years we have worked closely with the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials, and the Southeastern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials to distribute and encourage the adoption of the Pilot Car Escort Best Practices Guidelines, the Law Enforcement Escort Best Practices Guidelines, and the equipment guidelines, and will continue to promote these activities in this manner. Additionally, the FHWA’s Office of Freight Management and Operations works closely with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association to disseminate this information to their members. In the time since the original marketing activities were established, we initiated a truck size and weight educational course that will be offered to State officials with commercial motor vehicle size and weight responsibilities that include the issuance of permits for over-dimensional vehicles. The escort guidelines are included in that course. In April the course pilot is scheduled with 30-40 students, and we anticipate sufficient demand for it to be offered approximately four times per year. We are focused on our partnerships with the States for adoption of the guidelines because FHWA does not have the statutory authority to mandate or require such adoption. Instead, permitting authority rests with the States. We believe these partnerships will successfully promote adoption of these best practices in all sectors of the country, as well as within all affected organizations. The NTSB’s letter dated May 31, 2005, to FHWA indicated that our marketing efforts constituted ...a comprehensive response to the recommendation and, when complete, will fully address SR H-01-34. As previously mentioned, we have completed these marketing efforts but consider them to be ongoing activities to strongly encourage adoption of the Best Practices Guidelines, and we will continue promoting them through our Truck Size and Weight Program.

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 5/31/2005
Response: Your January 18, 2005, letter lists initiatives designed to encourage the adoption of guidelines that have been prepared in response to Safety Recommendation H-01-34, including providing the Pilot Car Escort Training Program to organizations and contractors in the United States and Canada, and to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, which, through its committees, has the structure in place to administer uniform testing. Safety Board staff received additional information from Mr. Phillip Forjan of the Office of Freight Management and Operations regarding efforts by the SC&RA and the CVSA to distribute the Best Practices Guidelines, provide training at regional association meetings, publish announcements, and develop marketing and outreach products for meetings and expositions. These efforts constitute a comprehensive response to the recommendation and, when complete, will fully address Safety Recommendation H-01-34. Accordingly, pending periodic updates on the progress of these efforts and their eventual completion, the recommendation is classified "Open--Acceptable Response." The Safety Board notes that as a direct result of its efforts to address these recommendations, the FHWA is providing funding for the development of uniform equipment standards for pilot car escorts and is also seeking to develop uniform standards for State mandatory and supplemental on-board equipment for pilot car operators to be used when escorting an oversized load. The Board commends the FHWA and its partners for their comprehensive response to not only the letter of these recommendations but also their spirit.

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 1/18/2005
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 1/24/2005 9:29:18 AM MC# 2050023 The FHWA, in conjunction with SC&RA and CVSA, are promoting the adoption of the Guidelines and the Training Program as the uniform standard for the safe movement of over- dimensional loads and the basis for uniform training of pilot car escorts. Specific marketing initiatives are: 1. Present the Pilot Car Escort Training Program to the California Professional Escort Car Association, the Texas Pilot Car Association and the United Safety Car Association, which are representatives of the pilot car escort industry. 2. With the assistance of FHWA, present the Pilot Car Escort Training Program to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), which is the representative of State licensing organizations. The AAMVA currently administers the Commercial Driver's License (CDL) programs and, through its committees, has the structure in place to administer uniform testing. 3. Provide the Pilot Car Escort Training Program, through an individually scheduled classroom instruction format, to participants from each of the regional State permitting official organizations: WASHTO, NASTO, SASHTO, and Mississippi Valley. 4. Provide the Pilot Car Escort Training Program, through individual classroom instruction, to two classes of 20 participants each for U.S.-based pilot car escort contractors and for one class of 20 participants for Canada-based pilot car escort contractors, for a total of 60 participants. 5. Print sufficient copies of all components of the Pilot Car Escort Training Program to distribute to pilot car escort members of SC&RA, participants of the aforementioned classroom instruction, WASHTO, NASTO, SASHTO and Mississippi Valley members, COMDATA, and industry. 6. Present the Pilot Car Escort Training Program to the Ministry of Transportation, Canada. 7. Publish announcements on Pilot Car Escort Training Program availability in the SC&RA Newsletter, the SC&RA Report to Members, FHWA's Office of Freight Management and Operations' Web site, and industry-related professional journals. 8. Provide the Law Enforcement Escort Best Practices Guidelines directly to lead commercial motor vehicle (CMV) enforcement agencies, CMV inspectors at CMV- related conferences, and to the attendees of major trucking expositions. 9. Publish announcements on the Law Enforcement Escort Best Practices Guidelines availability in the Guardian, CVSA's newsletter, FHWA's Office of Freight Management and Operations' Web site, and industry-related journals. 10. Develop marketing/outreach products for meetings and expositions. As a direct result of its work on the NTSB recommendations, FHWA is providing funding for the development of uniform equipment standards for the safe movement of permitted oversize/overweight loads by pilot car escorts. The FHWA discovered, following a 16 State review of pilot car driver training materials, that the training materials lacked uniformity in format and consistency in topic coverage. Specifically, the materials were inconsistent in their approach to addressing vehicle equipment standards. Some of the materials provided limited recommendations for signage, and several of the States failed to discuss safety and emergency response equipment. Few of the examined materials had any reference to the equipment needed to adequately respond to a hazardous spill or leak. The lack of uniformity in setting pilot car escort equipment standards can result in operational inefficiencies, safety lapses, and confusion for pilot car escorts supporting interstate oversized load movements. Chapter two of the Pilot Car Escort Training Manual provides a list of recommended safety and emergency response equipment that should be carried by all pilot car escorts while engaged in the movement of an oversized load. Unfortunately, these are only recommendations. The FHWA is seeking to develop uniform standards for State mandatory and supplemental on-board equipment for pilot car operators to be used when escorting an oversized load. 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.

From: NTSB
To: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
Date: 7/23/2007
Response: The Safety Board notes that AASHTO collaborated with the FHWA, the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association, and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, to produce three documents on oversize/overweight vehicle escort best practices, titled Pilot Car Escort: Best Practices Guidelines, Law Enforcement Escort: Best Practices Guidelines, and Pilot Car Escort: Training Manual. When these documents were published in October 2004, AASHTO members were given free access to the documents. The Board understands that vehicle escort best practices are discussed at yearly AASHTO meetings and that the documents remain available to the State departments of transportation through the following Web sites: http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/documents/pilotcar_bpguideline/, www.scranet.org, and www.cvsa.org. The Board appreciates AASHTO’s efforts to address the intent of this recommendation by informing its membership of the guidelines developed to increase safe routing of oversize/overweight vehicles. As AASHTO has collaborated in the development of the escort guidelines and has disseminated the documents to its members, Safety Recommendation H-01-34 is classified Closed Acceptable Action.

From: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
To: NTSB
Date: 3/31/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 4/3/2006 10:48:34 AM MC# 2060172: Attached are three documents which AASHTO beliefs satisfy the recommendation. These documents are Pilot Car Escort: Best Practices Guidelines, Law Enforcement Escort: Best Practices Guidelines, and most importantly Pilot Car Escort: Training Manual. Based on the discussions from the June 2004 annual Subcommittee on Highway Transport, the content of these documents was a collaborative effort of Federal Highway Administration, Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and AASHTO. At the time of publication, October 2004, AASHTO members were given free access to these documents. Attached are copies of these documents, which are also available on the following websites: www.sranet.org, www.cvsa.org, and www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight.

From: NTSB
To: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
Date: 7/20/2004
Response: Safety Board staff presented these issues to AASHTO's Subcommittee on Highway Transport in November 2003, and the issue of escort vehicles was again discussed at its June 2004 meeting, which Safety Board staff attended. Pending the development of the requested guidelines, Safety Recommendations H-01-32 through -34 are classified "Open--Acceptable Response."

From: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
To: NTSB
Date: 3/30/2004
Response: AASHTO has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Transit Administration, the American Public Transportation Association and the Community Transportation Association to develop a bus safety and security program. It is considered a "voluntary" program, but AASHTO is encouraging transit systems to participate.