NTSB Makes Recommendations to Help Prevent Rollovers
Posted on Nov 2 , 2011
An investigation into a 2009 tanker-truck rollover-crash near Indianapolis has led the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to recommend that anti-rollover stability control systems be mandated on tanker trucks. The NTSB's investigation into the crash revealed that while traversing a curved on-ramp, the truck driver over-steered to avoid an accident with a passenger vehicle in the next lane. As a result of the quick steering, the top-heavy tanker containing approximately 9,000 gallons of liquefied petroleum gas overturned. The truck accident resulted in injuries to the truck driver and passengers in two other vehicles. The NTSB stated that while truck drivers receive training on how to avoid rollovers, training is not completely effective in preventing these types of accidents. Further, the NTSB stated that if the tanker truck had a stability control system, this accident may not have occurred. There are two main types of stability control systems that can be installed on tanker trucks to help prevent these types of accidents: Electronic Stability Control and Roll Stability Control. Both systems work by detecting instability. As outlined by an article by the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association, when instability is detected, the systems begin to slow the truck by "cutting back the throttle and applying the brakes." The key difference between the two systems is that Roll Stability Control will work to prevent a truck from overturning; while Electronic Stability Control will detect both the risk of rollover and jackknifing, which is caused by yaw. The Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association notes that according to a 2009 study by the University of Michigan, both systems could prevent thousands of accidents and over a hundred fatalities annually. In all, the NTSB, which does not have the authority to enact its recommendations, has made 20 safety recommendations to other agencies in an effort to help prevent tanker truck rollover-accidents.