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On Tuesday, February 24, 2015, in the predawn hours, Metrolink commuter train 102, operated by Amtrak, was en route from Oxnard, in Ventura County, California, to Los Angeles. As the train approached the South Rice Avenue grade crossing about 5:44 a.m., it collided with a 2005 Ford F450 service truck towing a 2000 Wells Cargo two-axle utility trailer. The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Oxnard crash was the truck driver mistakenly turning onto the railroad right-of-way due to acute fatigue and unfamiliarity with the area.
TO THE NORTH AMERICAN CARTOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SOCIETY: Use existing newsletters and other routine forms of communication with your members to highlight the importance of creating navigation applications that incorporate grade crossing-related geographic data, such as those currently being prepared by the Federal Railroad Administration, to provide road users with additional safety cues and to reduce the likelihood of crashes at or near public or private grade crossings.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Open - Await Response
Oxnard, CA, United States
Preliminary Report Highway HWY15MH006
Highway Accident Brief: Train and Truck Crash on Railroad Right-of-Way and Subsequent Fire
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
North American Cartographic Information Society (Open - Await Response)
Safety Recommendation History
North American Cartographic Information Society
On February 24, 2015, in the predawn hours, Metrolink commuter train 102, operated by Amtrak, was en route from Oxnard, California, to Los Angeles. As the train approached the South Rice Avenue grade crossing in Oxnard, it collided with a 2005 Ford F450 service truck towing a utility trailer.1 The truck driver had inadvertently turned from South Rice Avenue onto the Union Pacific Railroad track, and the truck became lodged on the track. The train was occupied by three crew members and 51 passengers. After striking the truck and trailer, the train continued through the grade crossing, where all four coach cars subsequently derailed. The truck was pushed along the track and came to rest about 130 feet east of the grade crossing. A postcrash fire consumed the trailer. As a result of the crash, the train engineer died, and 32 passengers and crew members were injured. The truck driver sustained minor injuries. Additional information about this crash and the resulting recommendations may be found at our website, www.ntsb.gov, under report number NTSB/HAB-16/07. The truck driver used an application on his cell phone to navigate to his intended destination in Oxnard, in addition to handwritten directions provided by his employer. The crash occurred at 5:44 a.m., and the driver was fatigued and unfamiliar with the area. It is possible that he relied on the application to find his destination and subsequently misinterpreted the visual and audible cues available to him. At the time of the crash, the application did not include grade crossing data; thus, it provided no specific information on the grade crossing located parallel to, and just 57 feet from, East Fifth Street, the driver’s intended route. We concluded that had the driver’s navigation application included information on the upcoming grade crossing, he would have been less likely to misinterpret the visual cues and mistakenly turn onto the railroad tracks on his approach to the East Fifth Street intersection. As a result of this investigation, we issued two new recommendations, including one to 14 companies and the following recommendation to the North American Cartographic Information Society.
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