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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-78-043
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 4:00 P.M. E.D.T., ON MAY 12, 1977, A PARTIALLY LOADED FLATBED TRUCK, TOWING A FLATBED UTILITY SEMITRAILER FULLY LOADED WITH A LOADER-BACKHOE TRACTOR, WAS DESCENDING A CURVED, STEEP, LONG GRADE NEAR MARION, NORTH CAROLINA, WHEN THE COMBINATION VEHICLE SUDDENLY BEGAN TO ACCELERATE. THE TRUCK-SEMITRAILER REMAINED ON THE ROADWAY FOR ABOUT 1/3 OF A MILE AND WAS NEGOTIATING A CURVE WHEN IT SKIDDED SIDEWAYS; THE SEMITRAILER CROSSED INTO THE OPPOSING TRAFFIC LANE. THE LOADER-BACKHOE TRACTOR BROKE FREE OF ITS RESTRAINING CHAINS AND VAULTED TO THE ROADWAY INTO THE PATH OF AN ONCOMING VAN. THE TRUCK-SEMITRAILER CONTINUED AHEAD, LEFT THE ROAD, AND STRUCK A TREE. FIVE OCCUPANTS OF THE VAN WERE KILLED AND TWO WERE CRITICALLY INJURED. THE TRUCKDRIVER WAS NOT INJURED; A PASSENGER IN THE TRUCK RECEIVED MINOR INJURIES.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION: INVESTIGATE AND REPORT TO THE SAFETY BOARD ON THE FEASIBILITY OF SPECIALLY FUNDED FEDERAL PROGRAMS TO PROVIDE ESCAPE ROUTES FOR OUT-OF-CONTROL VEHICLES ALONG ALREADY CONSTRUCTED GRADES WHERE THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR OUT-OF-CONTROL ACCIDENTS BUT WHERE ESCAPE ROUTES ARE NOT JUSTIFIED IN STRICT COST-BENEFIT TERMS.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Marion, NC, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: 79829
Accident Reports: Ford Construction Company Truck- Semi-Trailer/Dodge Van Collision
Report #: HAR-78-03
Accident Date: 5/12/1977
Issue Date: 5/16/1978
Date Closed: 10/25/1979
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FHWA (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 10/25/1979
Response:

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/4/1978
Response: FHWA LETTER: FHWA DOES NOT CONSIDER IT ADVISABLE TO RECOMMEND A SPECIALLY FUNDED PROGRAM FOR ESCAPE ROUTES ON ALREADY CONSTRUCTED GRADES. THE FHWA IS PREPARING A NOTICE TO EMPHASIZE THE NEED FOR COUNTERMEASURES. THEY ARE ENCOURAGING EACH STATE TO ASSESS GRADE PROBLEMS AND TO TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION. THAT ACTION MAY CONSIST OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF EMERGENCY ESCAPE RAMPS FOR WHICH FEDERAL FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE FROM REGULAR HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION FUNDS. 2/2/79 - FHWA RESPONSE TO NTSB 12/12/78 LETTER OF INQUIRY: THE NOTICE TO EMPHASIZE THE NEED FOR OUT-OF CONTROL TRUCK COUNTERMEASURES AND A TECHNICAL ADVISORY ON THE DESIGN OF TRUCK ESCAPE RAMPS ARE IN THE FINAL STAGES OF PREPARATION. THE GATHERING OF FEDERAL FUND USAGE DATA FOR ESCAPE RAMPS WOULD BE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN. SEVERAL STATES HAVE GIVEN POSITIVE REACTION CONCERNING EXPERIENCES WITH ESCAPE RAMPS. 8/15/79 - FHWA LTR: NOTICE N5040.34, DATED 7/9/79 TO ALERT STATES TO NEED OF CONTROL OF HEAVY TRUCKS ON STEEP GRADES. "TRAFFIC SAFETY" MAGAZINE ARTICLE AUGUST 1979. "TRUCK ESCAPE RAMPS: EXIT TO SAFETY."