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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-11-014
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 FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION: If the results of the evaluation in Safety Recommendation H-11-13 and -14 warrant such action, work with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials to develop and implement best practices to assist state transportation agencies in identifying existing locations where cross-slope breaks pose a rollover hazard, placing an emphasis on those roadways having high volumes of heavy truck traffic, and develop appropriate strategies for mitigating the hazard.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
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:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FHWA (Open - Acceptable Response)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 10/16/2012
Response: The NTSB notes that the FHWA will propose a National Highway Cooperative Research Program (NCHRP) project, titled “Assessment and Updating of Horizontal Curve Design Criteria,” to work with AASHTO to develop the recommended best practices. Once the research findings are available, the FHWA will work with AASHTO and the Transportation Research Board to disseminate and codify the best-practice guidance. Pending further updates and issuance of the final guidance, Safety Recommendations H-11-13 and -14 are classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FHWA
Date: 12/12/2011
Response: -From Victor M. Mendez, Administrator: If the results of the efforts associated with H-II-13 warrant, FHWA will work with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and other organizations such as TRB to circulate the best practices. Additionally, FHWA will work with AASHTO, as appropriate, to institutionalize the implementation of the findings and best practices developed through research.