NTSB Recommendations for Rollover Protection for Tankers

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), more controls are needed that can make tanker trailers safer to drive. Recommended safety mechanisms include reducing rollover incidents and installing rollover stability control systems. These recommendations outline numerous steps for the trucking industry as over-the-road hauling remains a vital part of the economy.

Highlights of NTSB Recommendations

The following highlights four recommendations by NTSB concerning the safety of tanker trailers. A full report is available on the NTSB website, including the rationale for the safety recommendations. A total of 20 safety recommendations are included in the report. NTSB does not have the authority to regulate safety within the trucking industry; however, it can issue recommendations to other agencies with regulatory power.

TSImage-78465851It is recommended that two agencies Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) develop a comprehensive program that targets rollover prevention. These two agencies should work together to assist trucking companies responsible for carrying hazardous materials. It suggests that the programs include all personnel such as dispatchers, truck drivers and management.

Another recommendation is to retrofit cargo tank trailers capable of hauling more than 10,000 with the stability control system to prevent rollovers. FMCSA would be responsible for ensuring trucking companies comply.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) should develop performance standards for stability control systems on commercial motor vehicles and buses over 10,000 pounds. Further, NTSB recommends minimum standards for newer cargo tanks, including stability control systems.

Finally, PHMSA should identify any cargo tank designs not identified in the NTSB report that could fail during operation. This should enable the agency to develop performance standards for newer models.

These recommendations follow an investigation of an accident that occurred in 2009, which caused serious injuries to the truck driver and driver of a passenger vehicle. Several passengers of other vehicles on the same highway suffered minor injuries. This highlights the hazards of truck driving jobs and enforces the need for the recommended changes.

The accident that prompted an investigation occurred in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana on a connection ramp for I-69 south and I-465 south. A tractor trailer hauling over 9,000 gallons of liquefied petroleum gas rolled over on the highway.

An investigation into the cause of the accident found that the truck driver over steered the trailer when trying to avoid hitting a passenger vehicle. The maneuvers by the truck driver contributed to the rollover. Moreover, the design of the loaded cargo tanker trailer did not allow space operator error.

Individuals who train for truck driving jobs receive instruction on rollover techniques. However, those instructions are not adequate to prevent the accident, due in large part to not having a stability control system.


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