NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


July 23, 2002

Washington, DC - The National Transportation Safety Board determined today that the probable cause of November 17, 2000, Intercession City, Florida collision involving Amtrak train 97 and a tractor-combination vehicle was the failure of the Kissimmee Utility Authority, its construction contractors and subcontractors, and the motor carrier to provide for the safe passage of the load over the grade crossing.

The NTSB also concluded that had the Florida Department of Transportation included language on the permit explaining that low clearance, slow-moving vehicles are required to notify the railroad before crossing the accident might have been avoided. The Safety Board investigated a similar accident at the same location on November 30, 1993.

“Grade crossing accidents like this one, and one we investigated at the same site in 1993, can be eliminated,” said Chairman Marion C. Blakey. “Notification to the railroads of scheduled crossings of low-clearance, slow moving and wide loads will help provide safe passage of these vehicles,” she added.

As a result of this accident, the Safety Board made the following safety recommendations:

To the Federal Highway Administration and the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws & Ordinances:

        Revise Uniform Vehicle Code, Section 11-703, to define which vehicles, under what circumstances, need to notify the railroad before crossing a highway-rail grade         crossing.

To the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:

        Amend the Code of Federal Regulations 383.51 (e), “Disqualification for railroad-highway grade crossing violation,” to include a violation for drivers of low-clearance or         slow-moving vehicles who fail to notify and make arrangements with the railroad for safe passage, when required. 

To the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials:

       Encourage the States, once the Uniform Vehicle Code has been revised, a) to adopt the revised Uniform Vehicle Code, Section 11-703, b) to include vehicle ground        clearance as part of the permitting process, and c) to require permitted
       slow-moving vehicles and those permitted vehicles that do not meet the ground-clearance provisions of the Uniform Vehicle Code to conduct route surveys.

       Encourage the States, once the revised Uniform Vehicle Code, section 11-703, has been adopted, to include the text of the revised State statute on the face of permits.

To all Class 1 Regional Railroads:

       Provide easily accessed contact and notification information for use by vehicle operators requiring railroad assistance to ensure safety at grade crossings.

To the Kissimmee Utility Authority:

       Require that the CSX Transportation, Inc., railroad is notified in advance of accepting delivery by low-clearance or slow-moving vehicles.

A summary of this report is available now on the NTSB Web site at <http://www.ntsb.gov>, under “Publications”; the complete report will also be posted at that location in a few weeks. Soon afterwards, printed copies will be available for purchase through the National Technical Information Service.

NTSB Media Contact:
Terry N. Williams



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.