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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-15-016
Details
Synopsis: About 12:55 a.m. on Saturday, June 7, 2014, a 2011 Peterbilt truck-tractor in combination with a 2003 Great Dane semitrailer operated by the motor carrier Walmart Transportation LLC (Walmart Transportation truck) was traveling northbound on the New Jersey Turnpike (part of Interstate 95) near Cranbury, New Jersey, in the center lane of the three-lane roadway. Near milepost 71.4, the Walmart Transportation truck encountered traffic that had slowed to less than 10 mph along a construction corridor, due to closure of the center and right-hand lanes. The truck was traveling 65 mph in a nighttime work zone that had a posted speed limit of 45 mph. The Walmart Transportation truck struck the left rear of a slowly moving 2012 Mercedes-Benz limo van (limo van) that was in the center lane. The impact from the Walmart Transportation truck accelerated the limo van forward and caused it to turn to the right. The limo van collided with a 2006 Freightliner tractor-trailer traveling in the right lane. Contact from the Freightliner and Walmart Transportation trucks forced the limo van to roll over one quarter turn onto its left (driver) side. During its roll, the limo van struck the rear of a 2011 Buick Enclave, which then struck the rear of a 2011 Ford F-150 pickup truck. The limo van came to rest overturned onto its left (driver) side across the center lane. After striking the limo van, the Walmart Transportation truck continued into the left lane and struck a 2005 Nissan Altima in the rear before colliding with a guardrail and stopping on the shoulder against a concrete barrier. Twenty-one people in six vehicles were involved in the crash. As a result of the crash, one limo van passenger, who had been riding in the vehicle’s passenger compartment, died on scene, and the other four passengers in this compartment were seriously injured. Five additional people had minor injuries.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION: Amend the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices “Guidance” for work zone projects on freeways and expressways to advise traffic engineers on the use of supplemental traffic control strategies and devices to mitigate crash events involving heavy commercial vehicles.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Highway
Location: Cranbury, NJ, United States
Is Reiterated: Yes
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: HWY14MH012
Accident Reports: ​Preliminary Report: Highway Accident Investigation, Cranbury, NJMultivehicle Work Zone Crash on Interstate 95
Report #: HAR-15-02
Accident Date: 6/7/2014
Issue Date: 9/8/2015
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FHWA (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 3/26/2018
Response: We note that you continue to work on your proposed amendments to the MUTCD. In previous correspondence, you indicated that you planned to address Safety Recommendations H 12-41, H-13-41, H-14-9, and H-15-16 by revising the MUTCD with the recommended guidance and requirement; accordingly, these four recommendations were classified “Open—Acceptable Response.” In response to Safety Recommendation H-14-11, you indicated that you would revise the MUTCD with guidance rather than a requirement, which we found to be an acceptable alternate method of implementation, and we classified Safety Recommendation H 14-11 “Open—Acceptable Alternate Response.” Because you have not indicated any changes to your previous plans of action in regard to these five recommendations, pending publication of the revised MUTCD, Safety Recommendations H-12-41, H-13-41, H-14 9, and H-15-16 will remain classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE, and Safety Recommendation H-14-11 will remain classified “Open—Acceptable Alternate Response.”

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/22/2017
Response: In addition to this recommendation, the NTSB has issued several other recommendations to FHWA that require revising the MUTCD. i.e. Recommendations H-12-41, H-13-41, H-14-09, H-14- 11, and H-15-16. Our efforts to review the MUTCD and to propose changes to address these recommendations are ongoing. We anticipate any proposed changes will be included in a Notice of Proposed Amendments (NPA) for the next edition of the MUTCD. Based on the actions described, we request that Recommendations H-17-2 and -3 be classified as 'Open-Acceptable Response" and all the other recommendations mentioned in the penultimate paragraph of this letter continue to be classified as "Open-Acceptable Response"

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 11/3/2016
Response: Reiterated in the Accident Report NTSB/HAR-16/01 PB2016-104807 "Multivehicle Work Zone Crash on Interstate 75 Chattanooga, Tennessee, June 25, 2015" adopted on October 17, 2016 and transmitted on November 3, 2016 Notation Number 8730A: The NTSB recently investigated a crash in Cranbury, New Jersey, where a truck driver’s fatigue and speeding in a work zone were causal factors (NTSB 2015a). As a result of this investigation, the NTSB issued the following recommendation to the FHWA, requesting that it: H-15-16 Amend the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices “Guidance” for work zone projects on freeways and expressways to advise traffic engineers on the use of supplemental traffic control strategies and devices to mitigate crash events involving heavy commercial vehicles. Safety Recommendation H-15-16 is classified “Open--Acceptable Response.” The FHWA has indicated that it will “review Part 6 of the MUTCD to clarify or add provisions regarding freeway and expressway work zones and the possibility of queuing due to reduced capacity created by lane closures and the relative placement of the advance warning devices.” The proposed changes are to be included in the notice of proposed amendments for the next edition of the MUTCD, which has a tentative completion date of June 2018. The FHWA stated that it has issued or funded several publications on this subject, including the following:Mitigating Work Zone Safety and Mobility Challenges Through Intelligent Transportation Systems: Case Studies (FHWA 2014). Safe Trucking Through Work Zones (FHWA 2003). Guidance for the Use of Temporary Rumble Strips in Work Zones (ATSSA 2013).96 Innovative End-of-Queue Warning System Reduces Crashes Up to 45% (FHWA 2015). Further, the FHWA smarter work zones initiative, promoted by its 2015 2016 Every Day Counts program, encourages project coordination and technology applications to improve safety and reduce travel delays. Some of the technologies highlighted include variable speed limit systems and dynamically managed work zone traffic based on real-time conditions. On April 13, 2015, the FHWA, the FMCSA, and the CVSA conducted a national symposium on work zones and large trucks. Representatives from state departments of transportation, NHTSA, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, law enforcement, academia, and industry participated. The stakeholders developed a draft work plan with potential recommendations to improve work zone safety, including the following (FHWA?FMCSA?CVSA 2015): Identify best practices through optimal use of law enforcement and commercial trucking resources, assets, and personnel. Promote the use of work zone safety devices and strategies (truck-mounted attenuators, large truck ingress/egress signs and alert systems, and temporary/portable rumble strips). Determine technology solutions for work zone and large truck safety (back-of-queue advance warning systems, next generation real-time traveler information systems, roadside/connected vehicle/vehicle-to-infrastructure options, and onboard equipment options). Identify key research efforts that inform or affect work zone and large truck safety. Develop and conduct human factors research on effective strategies to reduce distracted driving and speed for drivers of large trucks and to alert motorists of work zones. Create a group to spur collaboration on a work zone and large truck safety initiative. • Develop a communications and outreach plan to support symposium actions. 2.7.4 Safety Recommendations 2.7.4.1 Traffic Control Plan. TDOT had established procedures for executing impact analyses and developing transportation management plans (TDOT 2007). The Chattanooga work zone project included provisions for greater advance warning, end-of-queue protection, transportation management center monitoring, use of law enforcement personnel, increased inspections, training of personnel, and nighttime work.97 The color, dimensions, selection, and placement of traffic control devices in the work zone met MUTCD requirements. The advance warning area had the minimum required 0.5-mile warning distance sign for the left lane closure. “ROAD WORK AHEAD” signs at 3 miles, 2 miles, 1 mile, 1,500 feet, and 500 feet supplemented the required warning distance signs. Overhead DMSs further supplemented the advance warning signs. TDOT special contract provisions required the additional warning distance for interstate lane closures and the use of queue trucks. The transition area had arrow boards to taper the traffic; and the taper distance was 780 feet, which exceeded the minimum distance required. Although the TDOT traffic control plan included features beyond the minimum requirements established in the MUTCD, it could be improved by implementing speed management strategies to avoid sudden speed reduction and significant speed variance. The MUTCD, section 6C.01 (Temporary Traffic Control Plans), also indicates that temporary traffic control: . . . should be designed so that vehicles can travel through the temporary traffic control zone with a speed limit reduction of no more than 10 mph. . . . Where restrictive features justify a speed reduction of more than 10 mph, additional driver notification should be provided. The speed limit should be stepped down in advance of the location requiring the lowest speed, and additional temporary traffic control warning devices should be used. (FHWA 2009) The NTSB concludes that TDOT processes and procedures were consistent with the work zone safety and mobility requirements of 23 CFR Part 630, and its traffic control plan followed the requirements and most guidance in the MUTCD, but the agency and other state departments of transportation would benefit from additional FHWA guidance on the use of supplemental traffic control strategies and devices to mitigate crash events involving heavy commercial vehicles. Therefore, the NTSB reiterates Safety Recommendation H-15-16 to the FHWA.

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 9/27/2016
Response: We note that you have already taken action to implement your Every Day Counts: Smarter Work Zones initiative and to provide work-zone safety guidance through various publications you have developed in cooperation with heavy commercial vehicle stakeholders. We commend you for the actions you have completed thus far, and we look forward to reviewing the guidance revisions you plan to propose for the next MUTCD edition. Pending publication of the MUTCD and our review of the work-zone safety guidance sections, Safety Recommendation H-15-016 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 3/1/2016
Response: You suggested an alternate means of implementing this recommendation based on your Every Day Counts/ EDC-3: Smarter Work Zones initiative and the guidance provided by the various publications that you have developed in cooperation with heavy-commercial-vehicle stakeholders. We appreciate the efforts you have made thus far, and we are interested in hearing more about the traffic control devices discussed in your guidance and ways they would meet the current needs that we identified in our investigations. Before we provide an official written response to this letter, we would like to meet with your staff to discuss the issues and the recommendation in person. We will delay our formal review of your response and classification of the recommendation until after we have an opportunity to meet.

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/22/2015
Response: -From Gregory G. Nadeau, Administrator: The FHW A recognizes the effects work zones can have while improvements are being made to the Nation's aging infrastructure, and strives to enhance safety and mobility during these activities. We will review Part 6 of the MUTCD to clarify or add provisions regarding freeway and expressway work zones and the possibility of queuing due to reduced capacity created by lane closures and the relative placement of the advance warning devices. Any proposed changes will be included in the Notice of Proposed Amendments for the next edition of the MUTCD. The rulemaking process is underway. However, we have encountered a delay which was also mentioned in our response to several other recommendations that require amendments to the MUTCD, and the tentative date for completion is now June 2018. Currently, FHWA encourages the use of queue warning systems under the Smarter Work Zones (SWZ) initiative promoted by the FHW A Every Day Counts (EDC) program. The EDC identifies and rapidly deploys proven but underutilized innovations to, among other things, enhance roadway safety. The FHWA works with State and local transportation agencies and industry stakeholders to identify a new collection of innovations to champion every 2 years. Throughout the 2-year deployment cycle, specifications, best practices, lessons learned and relevant data are shared among stakeholders through case studies, webinars and demonstration projects. The EDC-3 (2015-2016) includes SWZ focusing on project coordination and technology applications, especially queue and speed management. Additional information about SWZ, including a toolkit, case studies and fact sheets, is available on the Web site at https://www.workzonesafety.org/swz/main. The FHWA has completed several activities to promote work zone safety including (1) development of publications entitled Work Zone Intelligent Transportation Systems Implementation Guide and Mitigating Work Zone Safety and Mobility Challenges through Intelligent Transportation Systems: Case Studies, which are available on the FHWA's Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program Web site at http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/its/; and (2) award of work zone safety grants to develop a pamphlet entitled Safe Trucking Through Work Zones prepared by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and Texas Transportation Institute that specifically addresses heavy vehicles in work zones; a document entitled Guidance for the Use of Temporary Rumble Strips in Work Zones prepared by the American Traffic Safety Services Association; and a fact sheet entitled Innovative End of Queue Warning System Reduces Crashes Up to 45% prepared by ARTBA. These publications include case studies where Intelligent Transportation Systems and other work zone applications have demonstrated safety benefits. The information developed through the grants is available on the National Work Zone Information Clearinghouse Web site at https://www.workzonesafety.org/fhwawzgrant. The reports and case studies are also available on FHWA's Web site. Based on the EDC-3 Smarter Work Zones initiative and various publications developed in cooperation with heavy commercial vehicle stakeholders, we believe the intent of this recommendation has been met. Consequently, we respectfully request Recommendation H-15-16 be reclassified as Closed-Acceptable Alternate Action.