In closing, I want to again recognize the NTSB staff for their hard work in
developing and presenting this excellent safety report. Investigator-in-Charge
Robert Accetta and his team did an outstanding job of documenting the physical
evidence at the accident scene and bringing to light the many missed
opportunities to prevent this accident. Their work resulted in the wide-ranging
recommendations we adopted today.
I also want to thank my fellow Board Members for their very helpful
participation in the process.
Movement of oversize loads is a specialized operation that demands special
What this investigation uncovered were multiple gaps in multiple systems and
repeated occurrences of similar bridge strikes.
We learned about gaps in the permitting and route surveys conducted for
We learned about the lack of guidelines and training for pilot/escort
We learned about the specialized skills and knowledge required of CDL drivers
hauling oversized loads to determine safe routes, coordinate effectively with
pilot/escort vehicles, and control and position oversize loads on the roadway.
We learned about the importance of states sharing information about bridge
strikes to prevent future collisions.
And, we learned about federal guidance for low clearance signage that has not
been updated for more than half a century.
We have recommended that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) update and
standardize guidance on signage that includes the proper lane of travel for
overheight vehicles. And we have made recommendations to the FHWA and industry
groups for other improvements to the safe transportation of oversize loads,
including pilot escort vehicle operations.
We have made recommendations to Washington State’s Department of
Transportation to strengthen its permitting process, and to require both lead
and trailing pilot escort vehicles when a vehicle is as wide as or wider than a
And we have made other recommendations on other ways to close the safety gap,
including bringing modern technology to bear on route safety and banning
unnecessary use of portable electronic devices in pilot escort vehicles.
If acted upon, these recommendations should help protect bridges that are
integral to major transportation arteries, save lives, and prevent injuries in
But they should also help to prevent much more common but less severe
incidents, as robust safety precautions play an ever increasing role in the safe
transportation of today’s oversize loads across our roads and highways.
We stand adjourned.