Highway Accident Report

Adopted: February 15, 1994
GASOLINE TANK TRUCK/AMTRAK TRAIN
COLLISION AND FIRE IN
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA
MARCH 17, 1993

NTSB Number: HAR-94/01
NTIS Number: PB94-916201
PDF Document


SYNOPSIS

About 3:13 p.m., Wednesday, March 17, 1993, an Amerada Hess (Hess) tractor-semitrailer hauling gasoline was struck by National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) train 91. The truckdriver was attempting to cross a railroad/highway grade crossing on Cypress Creek Road in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Traffic in the area of the crossing was congested because the left and center lanes were closed just over the crossing. Traffic was being channeled into the right lane and later shifted into a right-turn lane. The truck, which was loaded with 8,500 gallons of gasoline, was punctured when it was struck. A fire erupted, engulfing the truck and nine other vehicles. The fire killed the truckdriver and five occupants of three stopped vehicles.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the inadequacy of the precautions taken by the Broward County project manager, the design engineer, and the contractor, which resulted in traffic congestion at the railroad/highway grade crossing, and the truckdriver's decision to cross the railroad track even though the warning system had been activated.

The major safety issues discussed in this report are the performance of the truckdriver and traffic control in work zones near railroad/highway grade crossings. As a result of its investigation of this accident, the Safety Board makes recommendations to the Federal Highway Administration, the American Trucking Associations, Inc., and the Amerada Hess Corporation.

RECOMMENDATIONS

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

to the Federal Highway Administration:

Include in Part VI of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices minimum standards on channelization of traffic at work zones to minimize traffic congestion over railroad/highway grade crossings. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-94-1)

Incorporate guidance in your construction and maintenance training courses that addresses work zones near railroad/highway grade crossings. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-94-2)

to the American Trucking Associations, Inc.:

As part of your safety program, notify your members of the circumstances of this accident and alert them to the potential dangers when approaching work zone areas adjacent to railroad/highway grade crossings. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-94-3)

to Amerada Hess Corporation:

Develop and implement a grade crossing awareness training program, including participation in the Operation Lifesaver Program, to instruct your truckdrivers in the potential dangers at railroad/highway grade crossings. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-94-4 )