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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-11-030
Details
Synopsis: On Friday, March 26, 2010, about 5:14 a.m. central daylight time, near Munfordville, Kentucky, a 1999 Freightliner truck-tractor in combination with a 1998 Strick Corporation 53-foot-long van semitrailer, owned by the motor carrier Hester, Inc., and being driven by a 45-year-old male, was traveling south on Interstate 65 (I-65) near milepost 61.5. The truck departed the left lane of southbound I-65 at a shallow angle and entered the 60-foot-wide depressed earthen median between the southbound and northbound roadways. The truck traveled across the median and struck and overrode the high-tension, four-cable, alternating-post median barrier adjacent to the left shoulder of northbound I-65. It then crossed the left shoulder and entered the travel lanes of northbound I-65. At that time, a 2000 Dodge 15-passenger van, driven by a 41-year-old male and occupied by 11 passengers, was traveling northbound in the left lane. As the truck crossed in front of the van, its tractor was struck by the van. The van rotated clockwise and became engaged with the truck’s trailer; the two vehicles continued across both travel lanes and the right shoulder of northbound I-65. As the truck and van traveled across the right shoulder, the van separated from the truck, struck the cut rock wall beyond the shoulder, and rebounded back into the travel lanes, coming to rest in the left lane of northbound I-65, facing south. The truck’s tractor struck the cut rock wall, and the vehicle rolled onto its right side. As the truck came to rest across both northbound lanes, a fire ensued that destroyed the tractor and the sides and roof of the semitrailer. As a result of the accident and subsequent truck fire, the truck driver, the van driver, and nine van passengers died. Two child passengers in the van, who were using child restraints, sustained minor injuries. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the probable cause of this accident was the truck driver’s failure to maintain control of the truck-tractor combination vehicle because he was distracted by use of his cellular telephone. Contributing to the severity of the accident were a median barrier that was not designed to safely contain or redirect the heavy vehicle and the lack of adequate guidance to the states in the form of high-performance median barrier warrants. One issue that the NTSB identified during its investigation was the need to provide objective warrants, rather than general guidelines, for the application of median barriers. This issue area has elements that concern the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Recommendation: TO THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY: Revise your seat belt law so that it applies to all vehicles designed to carry 15 or fewer passengers.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Munfordville, KY, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: HWY10MH011
Accident Reports: Truck-Tractor Semitrailer Median Crossover Collision With 15-Passenger Van
Report #: HAR-11-02
Accident Date: 3/26/2010
Issue Date: 10/4/2011
Date Closed: 7/29/2013
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Commonwealth of Kentucky (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): 12-15 Passenger Van

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Kentucky
Date: 7/29/2013
Response:

From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Kentucky
Date: 7/29/2013
Response: On July 29, 2013, the Board approved appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8506) based on the following information: On April 11, 2012, Kentucky’s Governor signed legislation that expands its definition of a motor vehicle to include all vehicles designed to carry fifteen or fewer passengers and used for transporting persons. Safety Recommendation H 11 30 is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.