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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-78-044
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: EXPEDITE ACTION TO ESTABLISH A DESIGN POLICY THAT WOULD PREVENT FURTHER CONSTRUCTION OF LONG AND/OR STEEP HIGHWAY GRADES THAT HAVE THE POTENTIAL FOR GENERATING RUNAWAY VEHICLES WITHOUT PROVIDING ESCAPE ROUTES. (URGENT)
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable 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: 9/18/1979
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FHWA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 9/18/1979
Response:

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/4/1978
Response: FHWA LETTER: FHWA HAS PROVIDED TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO AASHTO IN THEIR REWRITE OF ITS POLICIES ON GEOMETRIC DESIGN OF HIGHWAYS. THE NEW POLICY WILL HAVE A SECTION ON EMERGENCY ESCAPE RAMPS. IN THE INTERIM A TECHNICAL ADVISORY IS BEING PREPARED ON THE SUBJECT FOR ISSUE LATER THIS YEAR. FHWA HAS PREPARED A SLIDE/TAPE PRESENTATION ON THE SUBJECT TO BE DISTRIBUTED IN 1979. 2/2/79 - FHWA RESPONSE TO NTSB 12/12/78 LETTER OF INQUIRY: FHWA HAS STATED THAT THE SLIDE-TAPE PROGRAM ON ESCAPE RAMPS IS READY AND CAN BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING. 8/15/79 - FHWA LTR: FHWA TRANSMITTED NOTICE N-5040-34 DATED JULY 9, 1979, AND TECHNICAL ADVISORY T-5040-10 DATED JULY 5, 1979. THESE DOCUMENTS, "EMERGENCY ESCAPE RAMPS ON FEDERAL-AID PROJECTS" AND "INTERIM GUIDELINES FOR DESIGN OF EMERGENCY ESCAPE RAMPS" PUT FORTH FHWA POLICY AND DESIGN GUIDELINES FOR ESCAPE RAMPS WHICH CAN BE USED BY ROADWAY ENGINEERS AND MANAGEMENT PEOPLE WHILE AASHTO PURSUES THE COMPLETION OF THEIR POLICIES ON GEOMETRIC DESIGN OF HIGHWAYS, WHICH WILL INCLUDE TRUCK ESCAPE RAMPS.