Photo of the at-rest positions of the pickup truck and two of the motorcycles (left); the trailer (right).

​​​At-rest positions of the pickup truck and two of the motorcycles (left); the trailer (right). (Source: New Hampshire State Police)

Collision Between Pickup Truck with Trailer and Group of Motorcycles

What Happened

A pickup truck towing a vehicle-hauling trailer crossed the centerline of US Route 2 and collided with a group of motorcycle riders travelling in the opposite direction, killing seven of the riders and injuring seven others.

What We Found

The driver of the truck was impaired by several drugs, and at the time of the crash had a suspended license in Connecticut, which was entered into an electronic system that alerts other states and should have led the Massachusetts RMV to revoke his license. However, due to deficiencies in out-of-state driver's license notification processing, the RMV failed to process the suspension notification. We also found that the driver's employer failed to complete even the most fundamental task a motor carrier is required to accomplish to ensure that it employs properly qualified drivers. The carrier'​s managers and drivers also routinely tampered with electronic logging devices and falsified hours-of-service logs, showing limitations in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration oversight of motor carriers. Several of the motorcycles were equipped with Antilock Braking Systems, which can aid when braking in emergency situations, and likely helped those riders maintain stability during the event. We also found several of the riders were not wearing helmets or wearing non-DOT-compliant helmets.

What We Recommended

As a result of this investigation, we made recommendations to improve the processing of interstate licensing notifications and federal oversight of motor carriers. We also reiterated previous recommendations for required use of DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets, and the inclusion of antilock braking system technology on newly manufactured motorcycles.