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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-11-001
Synopsis: On October 22, 2009, about 10:38 a.m. eastern daylight time, a 2006 Navistar International truck-tractor in combination with a 1994 Mississippi Tank Company MC331 specification cargo tank semitrailer (the combination unit), operated by AmeriGas Propane, L.P., and laden with 9,001 gallons of liquefied petroleum gas, rolled over on a connection ramp after exiting Interstate 69 (I-69) southbound to proceed south on Interstate 465 (I-465), about 10 miles northeast of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. The truck driver was negotiating a left curve in the right lane on the connection ramp, which consisted of two southbound lanes, when the combination unit began to encroach upon the left lane, occupied by a 2007 Volvo S40 passenger car. The truck driver responded to the Volvo’s presence in the left lane by oversteering clockwise, causing the combination unit to veer to the right and travel onto the paved right shoulder. Moments later, the truck driver steered counterclockwise to redirect and return the combination unit from the right shoulder to the right lane. The truck driver’s excessive, rapid, evasive steering maneuver triggered a sequence of events that caused the cargo tank semitrailer to roll over, decouple from the truck-tractor, penetrate a steel W-beam guardrail, and collide with a bridge footing and concrete pier column supporting the southbound I-465 overpass. The collision entirely displaced the outside bridge pier column from its footing and resulted in a breach at the front of the cargo tank that allowed the liquefied petroleum gas to escape, form a vapor cloud, and ignite. The truck-tractor came to rest on its right side south of the I-465 overpasses, and the decoupled cargo tank semitrailer came to rest on its left side, near the bridge footing supporting the southbound I-465 overpass. The truck driver and the Volvo driver sustained serious injuries in the accident and postaccident fire, and three occupants of passenger vehicles traveling on I-465 received minor injuries from the postaccident fire.
Recommendation: TO THE PIPELINE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIAL SAFETY ADMINISTRATION (ORIGINALLY ISSUED TO UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION): Require all intrastate and interstate hazardous materials carriers to submit annually the number and types of U.S. Department of Transportation specification cargo tanks that are owned or leased in addition to data displayed on the specification plates of such tanks and, if necessary, modify the appropriate database to accept additional data fields.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Indianapolis, IN, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: HWY10MH001
Accident Reports:
Rollover of a Truck-Tractor and Cargo Tank Semitrailer Carrying Liquified Petroleum Gas and Subsequent Fire
Report #: HAR-11-01
Accident Date: 10/22/2009
Issue Date: 9/2/2011
Date Closed: 7/8/2013
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: PHMSA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 7/8/2013
Response: We are disappointed that neither PHMSA nor the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) modified its registration forms or databases to collect the requested cargo tank information annually, as recommended. As the actions taken do not satisfy this recommendation and no further action is planned by either agency to address it, Safety Recommendation H-11-1 is classified CLOSED—UNACCEPTABLE ACTION.

Date: 4/24/2013
Response: -From Cynthia L. Quarterman, Administrator: NTSB and PHMSA share the common goal of improving transportation safety; however, we do not believe collection of the recommended data will improve our trend analyses. A comprehensive trend analysis would require additional information such as vehicle-miles traveled, number of daily trips, and the commodity transported. Collection of such data would further increase the paperwork burdens for both the public and PHMSA. The safety benefit derived from gathering the additional data recommended by the NTSB would not outweigh the burdens associated with collecting and maintaining that data. PHMSA can enhance the safety of transportation by the alternative measures discussed below. Thus, PHMSA does not intend to require motor carriers to submit the number and types of DOT specification cargo tank motor vehicles owned or leased along with the information displayed on the specification plates for the cargo tanks annually In the September 2, 20 11 letter, the NTSB reasoned that the absence of a requirement for motor carriers (transporting hazardous material) to periodically provide these data limits DOT's ability to perform accurate trend analyses. PHMSA has stated in the past that with additional data on the number and type of specification DOT cargo tank motor vehicles in use, we could better evaluate the performance of the different specification tanks. However, after further evaluation, PHMSA has concluded that a requirement to collect these data will not significantly advance safety when considering: (1) current methods PHMSA uses to capture cargo tank information to improve safety; (2) implementation of alternative measures to improve safety; and (3) the cost to collect the data recommended by NTSB. The NTSB had suggested that the population of specification DOT cargo tank motor vehicles could be obtained by modifying PHMSA's Hazardous Materials Registration Statement (DOT Form F 5800.2) (the "5800.2 form"). We have determined that it would not be appropriate to expand the scope of information collected on the 5800.2 form to include data other than what is necessary for registration purposes. The 5800.2 form is not a data collection tool, but rather a means to gather registrant information for those persons who are subject to the fee used to fund the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness grant program. Currently, there is no requirement for a registrant to include any specific information associated with the packaging used to transport the hazardous material. A registrant is only required to include the activity that triggers execution of the fee. We are directed by the Federal hazardous materials transportation law (49 u. S. C. 5108 et seq.) to simplify the registration process by minimizing the number of applications, documents, and other information a person is required to file. Requiring, at a minimum, the inclusion of the number and types of specification DOT cargo tank motor vehicles counters this directive. Furthermore, the registration program permits registration for multiple years to lessen industry paperwork burdens. Requiring annual submission (and possibly updates within a given year) of cargo tank data will adversely affect implementation of this program. PHMSA's current methods of capturing cargo tank motor vehicle information include incident reporting, accident investigations, and inspections. Although these methods do not provide us with the population of cargo tank motor vehicles in service (by total and type), they do provide valuable insight on their safety. NTSB acknowledged this in its instruction to PHMSA under Safety Recommendation H-11-5, which asked us to conduct an analysis using data collected from the Hazardous Materials Incident Report (i.e., DOT Form F 5800.1) (the "5800.1 form"). The 5800.1 form includes fields for describing packaging information that encompasses much of the same information found on the cargo tank specification plate. The 5800.1 form must include, for an incident involving a cargo tank, the manufacturer; manufacture date; serial number; last test date; material of construction; design pressure; shell thickness; head thickness; and service pressure. Additionally, PHMSA and its modal partner, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), have the ability to collect similar data through accident investigations or inspections. For example, should an accident investigation reveal the presence of a design defect that affects the safety of operation of a DOT specification cargo tank motor vehicle, we have the authority to address the issue with the publication of a Federal Register notice (or a safety advisory). FMCSA has done this to alert motor carriers to immediately discontinue use of the noncompliant cargo tank(s) and warn motor carriers that FMCSA would place them out of service and issue civil penalties if it were to discover continued use of the cargo tank(s) without first correcting the design flaws. The NTSB also suggested the FMCSA Motor Carrier Identification Report (Form MCS-150) (the "MCS-150 form") could be used to obtain the population of specification DOT cargo tank motor vehicles. In our November 17, 2011 letter, we indicated PHMSA was awaiting FMCSA's decision on whether Form MCSA-1 ,2 which would replace the MCS-150 form, should incorporate the data suggested under Safety Recommendation H-11-1. FMCSA has decided not to collect these data as part of its motor carrier registration process. A complete summary of FMCSA's decision and rationale will be made available in a yet to be published final rule implementing the Unified Registration System (URS). Information collected by the Federal government is subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. §§ 3501-3520). This Act seeks to minimize the paperwork burden on the public; ensure the benefit and utility of the information; improve its quality; and minimize the cost of management of the information to the Federal government. The ownership of cargo tank motor vehicles is often subject to change, and a particular cargo tank may have several lease agreements in a given year. Due to this dynamic environment, collection of specification plate information would be challenging. Trying to accurately capture this information would also lead to undue paperwork burdens on the public, and administrative burdens on PHMSA. The certification and marking requirements for the design and construction of DOT specification cargo tank motor vehicles under 49 CFR Part 178 of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) include numerous fields of information on the specification plate and, in some cases, name plate information is combined with the specification plate.3 We believe that gathering the data in this recommendation would impose a significant information collection burden for both the public and for PHMSA, without providing a corresponding safety benefit. Therefore, we plan no further action to address Safety Recommendation H-11-1.

From: NTSB
Date: 7/18/2012
Response: The NTSB notes that PHMSA is working with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to address this recommendation and that the FMCSA has initiated rulemaking to replace the Motor Carrier Identification Report (MCS-150) form as one step in consolidating its registration system. We encourage the FMCSA to move forward with incorporating the details of this recommendation into the revised registration form. Pending modification of the form and corresponding database fields, Safety Recommendation H-11-1 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

Date: 11/17/2011
Response: -From Cynthia L. Quarterman, Administrator of PHMSA: The NTSB recommendation letter suggests that the absence of data on the number of DOT specification cargo tanks, limits the Department’s ability to perform accurate trend analyses. According to the NTSB, the population of cargo tanks by DOT specification could be obtained by modifying either the Hazardous Materials Registration Statement (DOT Form F 5800.2), administered by PHMSA or the Motor Carrier Identification Report (MCS-150), administered by FMCSA. Currently, FMSCA has a rulemaking action that proposes to replace the MCS-150 with a new MCSA-1 form as part of a consolidated registration system (May 19, 2005; 70 R 28990). Through a supplemental notice, FMSCA is also seeking public input on whether the MCSA-1 form should be revised to incorporate this NTSB recommendation (October 26, 2011; 76 FR 66506). The Department is currently awaiting FMCSA’s response to the public comments. FMCSA and PHMSA will continue to work together on behalf of the Department to notify NTSB on the progress of this rulemaking action.