THE TRUCK OPERATOR
The semi-truck driver was a 40-year-old father of two had been employed with the company since June 2010. He started as a company driver and then moved to dispatch. From dispatch, he worked in the safety department prior to buying his own tanker in December 2012 and driving for the employer
The incident scene was a six-lane divided interstate in the northbound right-hand lane. The roadway was straight, level and dry.
Monday morning, February 17, 2014, the 40-year- old male tanker driver (victim) picked up his load approximately 406 miles south of the crash site. The victim was approximately 6 hours into his 12 hour trip. It was a cloudy, overcast day around 4:45 p.m. and the victim was traveling north on a major interstate, with 3 lanes going northbound and 3 lanes going south bound. The speed limit in the area was 70 mph. The victim had just exited a northbound scale facility when he came upon slower moving traffic in the right-hand lane. To avoid the vehicle the victim swerved to his left. The 45,000 lb. load of sodium sulfate shifted in the tanker causing the victim to overcorrect/over steer his tanker which then caused the tanker to flip on its top on the right-hand side of the interstate in a grassy area with a rock cut ditch.
A witness and his passenger were broken down on the side of the road when the semi went flying past them, narrowly missing them by a few feet before flipping and crashing.
One witness stated he was traveling behind the victim for a short distance and reported he had passed the victim as he was leaving the scale facility. The witness stated he observed the victim in his rearview mirror swerve to avoid the slow moving vehicle in the right lane. The witness observed the victim leave the roadway, losing control and turning over.
Another witness who was traveling behind the victim stated he observed the victim leave the roadway and drive to the grassy area where he overturned. The witness stated that traffic did appear to be moving slower but was not able to see any direct cause of the crash.
Kentucky State Highway Patrol was notified of the incident at 16:40 p.m. and arrived at 16:51 p.m., 11 minutes after the crash. The KSHP determined there were no vehicular factors or environmental factors that contributed to this incident. The KSHP report stated the contributing factor to this incident was a human factor of overcorrecting/over steering. The victim was wearing his seat belt and had to be extricated by mechanical means and was not ejected. Airbags were not installed on this vehicle. Assisting on the scene were Vehicle Enforcement officers, County Fire Department, County EMS, County Rescue Squad, County Coroner’s office as well as the County Emergency Management. The victim was pronounced dead on the scene by the county coroner and transported to the Coroner’s office.
Commercial motor vehicle drivers should avoid distracted driving to prevent resultant collisions and driver errors.
Commercial motor vehicle companies should consider using Defensive Driving training for their employees on an annual basis.
- Commercial motor vehicle drivers should be trained to know the signs of fatigue and steps to take to eliminate driving while fatigued
Safety Issues is presented by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in partnership with the National Truckers Association (NTA), with major contributions from State partners funded by NIOSH through the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program. The goal of the FACE Program is to prevent occupational fatalities across the nation by identifying and investigating work situations at high risk for injury and then developing and disseminating prevention strategies to those who can intervene in the workplace. State partners who contribute Safety Issues postings based on recent investigative reports are California, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, New Jersey, and Washington.
This month’s Safety Issues is based on an investigative report from the Iowa FACE Program. The complete detailed Kentucky FACE INVESTIGATION REPORT: 14KY007 includes additional case information, recommendations and discussion. This report can be found at http://www.mc.uky.edu/kiprc/projects/KOSHS/face/data/Reports/14KY007.pdf. Further information on the Kentucky FACE Program, including additional Kentucky FACE Investigation Reports, Hazard Alerts and fatality summaries can be accessed at http://www.mc.uky.edu/kiprc/programs/face.html.
The Safety Issues and Investigation Reports which are the products of NIOSH Cooperative State partners are presented here in their original unedited form from the states. They are intended for educational purposes only. The findings and conclusions in each report are those of the individual Cooperative State partner and do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the NIOSH.