Multiple Vehicle Collision with Fire During Fog
Near Milepost 118 on Interstate 40
January 9, 1995
Special Investigation of Collision Warning Technology
NTSB Number: HAR-95-03
NTIS Number: PB95-916203
About 1:50 a.m. on Monday, January 9, 1995, a multiple-vehicle rear-end collision occurred during localized fog at milepost 118 on Interstate 40 near Menifee, Arkansas. The collision sequence initiated when an uninvolved vehicle and the accident lead vehicle entered dense fog. As the lead vehicle reportedly slowed from 65 miles per hour (mph) to between 35 and 40 mph, it was struck in the rear. Subsequent collisions occurred as vehicles drove into the wreckage area at speeds varying from 15 to 60 mph. The accident eventually involved eight loaded truck tractor semitrailer combinations and one light-duty delivery van. Eight vehicles were occupied by a driver only, and one vehicle had a driver and a codriver. Three truckdrivers, the codriver, and the van driver were killed. One truckdriver received a minor injury, and four truckdrivers were not injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was that many of the drivers entered the area of dense fog at speeds that precluded successful evasive action to avoid the preceding or the stopped vehicles.
The major safety issues discussed in this report are collision warning
technology use during low visibility driving conditions, the emergency
channel 9 override feature for citizens band radios, and the nonuniformity
in State laws governing four-way emergency hazard flasher operation.
As a result of this accident investigation and the related special investigation of collision warning technology, the Safety Board makes recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; the Federal Communications Commission; the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Territories; the Telecommunications Industry Association; the Intelligent Transportation Society of America; and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.
As a result of its investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board makes the following recommendations:
to the Secretary of Transportation:
In cooperation with the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, sponsor fleet testing of collision warning technology through partnership projects with the commercial carrier industry. Incorporate testing results into demonstration and training programs to educate the potential end-users of the systems. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-95-44)
to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
Assess, within 2 years, the possible safety benefits to low-visibility conspicuity provided by incorporation of the high-mounted brake light into the four-way emergency flasher system. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-95-45)
to the Federal Communications Commission:
Expedite rulemaking action on the allocation of frequencies that would enhance the development possibilities of collision warning systems. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-95-46)
to the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Territories:
Review and revise, if necessary, existing State law regarding emergency hazard-flasher operation to ensure that the guidelines provided by the Uniform Vehicle Code section 12-215 (f) and (g) are followed. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-95-47)
to the Telecommunications Industry Association:
Encourage your members to include an emergency channel 9 override as a standard feature on all models of citizens band radios. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-95-48)
to the Intelligent Transportation Society of America:
In cooperation with the U. S. Department of Transportation, sponsor fleet testing of collision warning technology through partnership projects with the commercial carrier industry. Incorporate testing results into demonstration and training programs to educate the potential end-users of the systems. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-9549)
to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators:
Develop, within 2 years, guidelines for the use of emergency hazard flashers during limited-visibility conditions. (Class II, Priority Action) (H-95-50)