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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-77-006
Details
Synopsis: ON MAY 11, 1976, A TRANSPORT COMPANY OF TEXAS TRACTOR CARGO TANK SEMITRAILER TRANSPORTING A PARTIAL LOAD OF ANHYDROUS AMMONIA OVERTURNED IN HOUSTON, TEXAS. DURING THE CRASH, THE TANK RUPTURED AND THE AMMONIA ESCAPED AND VAPORIZED; 5 PERSONS DIED AND 178 PERSONS WERE INJURED AS A RESULT OF AMMONIA INHALATION. IN ITS INVESTIGATION OF THIS ACCIDENT, THE SAFETY BOARD DETERMINED THAT THE EXCESSIVE SPEED OF THE TRUCK COMBINED WITH THE LATERAL SURGE OF THE LIQUID CARGO IN THE TANK WAS THE PROBABLE CAUSE OF THE OVERTURN.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE BUREAU OF MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY OF THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION: ISSUE AN ON-GUARD BULLETIN TO WARN THE DRIVERS OF CARGO TANK TRUCKS AND OF TRACTORS HAULING CARGO TANK SEMITRAILERS OF THE HAZARD OF LATERAL SURGE OF LIQUID CARGOES, AND TO INFORM THE DRIVERS OF THE CORRECT OPERATING PROCEDURES TO USE WHENEVER THE TANK IS PARTIALLY LOADED.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Houston, TX, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA76H050
Accident Reports: Transport Company of Texas, Tractor Semitrailer (Tank) Collision with Bridge Column and Sudden Dispersal of Anhydrous Ammonia Cargo
Report #: HAR-77-01
Accident Date: 5/11/1976
Issue Date: 5/19/1977
Date Closed: 9/26/1980
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FHWA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 9/26/1980
Response:

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/22/1977
Response: FHWA LETTER STATED THE BMCS HAD CONDUCTED AN ENGINEERING ANALY OF THE DATA RELATED TO "OVERTURN DUE TO LATERAL SURGE", AND IT INDICATED THAT LIQUID SURGING OF CARGO DOES NOT CREATE AN OVERTURN STABILITY PROBLEM THAT WARRANTS THE ISSUANCE OF THE ADVISORY RECOMMENDED. THEY REQUESTED THAT NTSB FURNISH THEM WITH A COPY OF OUR SUPPORT DATA AND OUR CALCULATION. 12-22-77 10 PAGES OF SUPPORTING FORMULA (SEE RECOMMENDATION FILE FOR COPY) SENT TO BMCS IN RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE REQUEST. 8/18/80 - FHWA (BMCS) LTR: AN ON-GUARD BULLETIN, "ANYTHING OTHER THAN FULL OR EMPTY" WAS ISSUED IN JUNE 1980. THE SUBJECT OF THE BULLETIN IS THE PROBLEM OF SHIFTING LIQUID CARGO.