The two-day hearing will begin Aug. 3 at 9 a.m. at the NTSB's Board Room and Conference Center in Washington, D.C.
On Oct. 22, 2009, a 2006 International truck carrying an 11,600-gallon cargo tank semi-trailer with liquefied petroleum struck a guardrail while traveling south on I-69. The cargo tank rolled over the guardrail and slid on its right side into the bridge abutment and pillar of the I-465 southbound overpass. The tractor separated from the vehicle and rolled onto its right side and caught fire. The front of the cargo tank sustained a breach, resulting in the release of liquefied petroleum gas, which vaporized and ignited. The ensuing fires involved eight other vehicles on the I-69 semi-direct connection ramp to I-465 and the I-465 overpasses.
The driver of the cargo tank vehicle and a passenger vehicle driver on I-69 received serious injuries. The occupants of three vehicles on the I-465 overpass suffered minor injuries from the fires.
"The hearing is the Safety Board's opportunity to gather additional facts and information for the investigation of this accident," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, chairman of the NTSB. Hersman will chair the hearing. "Cargo tank vehicles account for 31 percent of all fatal commercial truck rollovers. Not only is the Safety Board concerned about this high fatality rate, but the significant additional danger to people and the environment that can result from the release of hazardous materials. In this particular case, the rollover resulted in significant structural damage to the highway and other vehicles."
During the hearing, there will be a series of panels on issues related to the accident. For each topic there will be an expert panel made up of witnesses and a technical panel consisting of Board staff. There will also be a panel consisting of parties to the hearing who will hear witnesses testify on vehicle design changes that can reduce the likelihood of rollover accidents; evaluation of the capability and limitations of electronic stability control systems for preventing rollover accidents; the role of driver training and testing for preventing rollover accidents; roadway factors that could contribute toward vehicle instability and signage that can rollover accidents; ways to protect highway bridge piers from vehicle impacts; and crashworthiness standards for cargo tanks transporting hazardous materials.
The hearing will be webcast. For more information, visit www.ntsb.gov/events/hearing_sched.htm.