Highway Accident Report

Adopted: September 21, 1978
N.C. ROUTE 226,
JANUARY 25, 1978

NTSB Number: HAR-78/06
NTIS Number: PB-287116/AS 


About 10:00 a.m. e.s.t., on January 25, 1978, a Kohler Company tractor-semitrailer, carrying a 43,000-lb cargo of feldspar, was southbound on North Carolina Route 226. As it descended a steep grade, braking capability was lost because the brakes were out of adjustment. The operator steered the tractor-semitrailer into the northbound lanes at a blind curve and struck a northbound pickup truck head on. A passenger in the pickup truck was killed; both drivers and a second passenger in the pickup truck were injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was: (1) The loss of truck braking capability because the brakes were out of adjustment and (2) the southbound truckdriver's poor judgment in steering into the northbound lanes at a blind curve and into the path of the pickup truck. Contributing to the cause of the accident was an inadequate, preventive maintenance program-by the carrier.


As a result of its investigation of this accident, the National Transportation Safety Board made the following recommendations:

to the State of North Carolina:

"Upgrade State guardrail installations at this location to conform with current AASHTO and FHWA design and performance standards. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-78-67)

"Maintain edge line markings at this location by clearing debris from the pavement surface as recommended by Highway Safety Program Manual Standard No. 12, Chapter 4. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-78-68)"

to the Federal Highway Administration:

"Review North Carolina’s barrier rail installation practices to assure that guardrails are upgraded when roadway resurfacing alters their relative height to the extent that they no longer conform to the AASHTO standards. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-78-69)”

to Ryder Truck Rental:

"Amend its maintenance policy relative to brake adjustments by requiring an adjustment at least at each preventive maintenance inspection. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-78-70)"

As a result of this accident, the Safety Board reiterates its safety recommendation H-78-48, issued to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration June 3, 1978:

"Develop a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard stating a performance requirement for all newly manufactured commercial vehicles to have equipment that would insure brakes being in proper adjustment at all times."