Highway Accident Report - Multivehicle Collision on Interstate 90 Hampshire-Marengo Toll Plaza

Near Hampshire, Illinois
October 1, 2003

NTSB Number: HAR-06-03
NTIS Number: PB2006-916203
Adopted April 18, 2006
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Executive Summary

On October 1, 2003, a multivehicle accident occurred on the approach to an Interstate 90 (I-90) toll plaza near Hampshire, Illinois. About 2:57 p.m., a 1995 Freightliner tractor-trailer chassis and cargo container combination unit was traveling eastbound on I-90, approaching the Hampshire-Marengo toll plaza at milepost 41.6, when it struck the rear of a 1999 Goshen GC2 25-passenger specialty bus. As both vehicles moved forward, the specialty bus struck the rear of a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck, which was pushed into the rear of a 1998 Ford conventional tractor-box trailer. As its cargo container and chassis began to overturn, the Freightliner also struck the upper portion of the pickup truck's in-bed camper and the rear left side of the Ford trailer. The Freightliner and the specialty bus continued forward and came to rest in the median. The pickup truck was then struck by another eastbound vehicle, a 2000 Kenworth tractor with Polar tank trailer. Eight specialty bus passengers were fatally injured, and 12 passengers sustained minor-to-serious injuries. The bus driver, the pickup truck driver, and the Freightliner driver received minor injuries. The Ford driver and codriver and the Kenworth driver were not injured.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the failure of the Freightliner truck driver, who was operating his vehicle too fast for traffic conditions, to slow for traffic. Contributing to the accident was the traffic backup in a 45-mph zone, created by vehicles stopping for the Hampshire-Marengo toll plaza. The structural incompatibility between the Freightliner tractor-trailer and the specialty bus contributed to the severity of the accident.

The following safety issues were identified in this investigation:

  • Toll plaza design and the lack of national standards for toll plaza design,
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversight of passenger motor carriers operating on revoked authority,
  • Collision warning system performance standards and requirements for new commercial vehicles, and
  • Vehicle incompatibility and heavy truck aggressivity.

As a result of this accident investigation, the Safety Board makes recommendations to the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the FMCSA, the Federal Highway Administration, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association. The Safety Board reiterates two recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Recommendations

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

New Recommendations

To the U.S. Department of Energy:

Report to the National Transportation Safety Board the 21st Century Truck Program's plans and timetable for prioritizing research, testing, and design enhancements that address heavy truck aggressivity. (H-06-15)

To the U.S. Department of Transportation:

Include heavy vehicles in your research, testing, and eventual rulemaking on highway vehicle incompatibility, especially as that incompatibility affects the severity of accidents. (H-06-16)

To the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:

Establish a program to verify that motor carriers have ceased operations after the effective date of revocation of operating authority. (H-06-17)

To the Federal Highway Administration:

Cooperate with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association to develop written guidelines on toll plaza design that provide information on current tolling practices, electronic toll collection strategies, and other equipment designed to eliminate queuing at toll plazas and to improve toll road safety. (H-06-18)

To the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials:

Cooperate with the Federal Highway Administration and the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association to develop written guidelines on toll plaza design that provide information on current tolling practices, electronic toll collection strategies, and other equipment designed to eliminate queuing at toll plazas and to improve toll road safety. (H-06-19)

Include the information from the written guidelines on toll plaza design in the next update of A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (Green Book). (H-06-20)

To the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association:

Cooperate with the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials to develop written guidelines on toll plaza design that provide information on current tolling practices, electronic toll collection strategies, and other equipment designed to eliminate queuing at toll plazas and to improve toll road safety. (H-06-21)

Reiterated Recommendations

The National Transportation Safety Board also reiterates the following recommendations:

To the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Complete rulemaking on adaptive cruise control and collision warning system performance standards for new commercial vehicles. At a minimum, these standards should address obstacle detection distance, timing of alerts, and human factors guidelines, such as the mode and type of warning. (H-01-6)

After promulgating performance standards for collision warning systems for commercial vehicles, require that all new commercial vehicles be equipped with a collision warning system. (H-01-7)