Highway Accident Report

Adopted: June 7, 1979
NOVEMBER 11, 1978

NTSB Number: HAR-79/05
NTIS Number: PB-297564/AS


About 3:40 p.m., p.s.t., November 11, 1978, a stationwagon with 13 occupants exited from Interstate 10 (San Bernardino Freeway) onto a branch connection ramp which led to the southbound California State Route 7 (Long Beach Freeway). It was raining and the roadway was wet. As the stationwagon negotiated the ramp, the driver lost control of the vehicle and it crashed through the bridgerail and fell to the roadway below landing on its roof. The driver and six passengers were killed and six passengers were injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the driver's loss of control of the stationwagon on the branch connection ramp, which resulted from (1) the road surface's low coefficient of friction, (2) the speed of the vehicle, (3) the degraded condition of the vehicle, and (4) the intoxication of the driver. The severity of the crash was magnified by the failure of the bridgerail, known to be inadequate by current standards, to retain the vehicle.


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

"Until the accident site is improved, install "Slippery When Wet” warning signs at the Ramona Boulevard entrance ramp and the branch connection ramp from I-10, and install a 25-mph speed advisory sign at the Ramona Boulevard entrance ramp. (Class I, Urgent Action) (H-79-36)

"Establish a policy and program consistent with Federal Highway Administration guidelines and safety standards that will provide for upgrading substandard bridgerailing that has been crash-damaged. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-79-37)

"Expedite action to complete and adopt the California Department of Transportation safety improvement project for the accident location and make the recommended safety improvements to comply with current safety guidelines. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-79-38)

"Establish a program to retrofit, on a priority basis, bridgerailing that does not meet Federal performance guidelines, which provide that bridgerailings be designed to minimize severity of impact, retain the vehicle, redirect the vehicle so that it will move parallel to the roadway, and minimize danger to traffic below. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-79-39)”