On November 11, 2012, Firefighter Mark Haudenschild II, 26, was killed when the water tanker he was driving overturned while he was responding to a brush fire near Fort Wayne, Ind. He left a wife and two young children. He was a volunteer with the Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department serving his community.

Over the past several years, too many firefighters have been killed or injured in water tanker/tender rollovers while responding to emergencies. National Tank Truck Carriers has produced a new version of the Cargo Tank Rollover Prevention Video it developed with the U.S. Department of Transportation to help educate water tanker drivers on the special characteristics of tank truck vehicles and the actions they can take to avoid rollovers.

“While this DVD was originally developed for commercial tank truck drivers, the principles of tank truck vehicle dynamics, road challenges, and safe driving practices it presents are equally applicable to water tankers used in emergency response,” said Jim Shaeffer, president of McKenzie Tank Lines, Tallahassee Fla., and chairman of National Tank Truck Carriers, Inc. 

Fire Department water tanker rollovers are not a new phenomenon. The Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report on Firefighter Deaths from Tanker Truck Rollovers in 2001. That report said there had been 62 deaths from water tanker rollovers from 1977-1999. The report did not include the injuries. The ability to track media and other reports on such crashes today shows that they continue to be a real issue of concern. Firefighters continue to be killed and injured in these usually preventable crashes.

The original 20-minute video was produced by the U.S. DOT with input from National Tank Truck Carriers in 2010 following increased industry and government concerns about the number of tank truck rollovers. It focuses on: Tank truck vehicle design; cargo/load factors; highway factors; and driver factors. 

The video features real tank truck drivers who share their experiences, different types of tank truck equipment and detailed graphics, and various highway challenges. The video has been translated into French, Spanish and Japanese. 

The video was based in part on information developed in 2007 in a detailed cargo tank rollover report prepared for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by Battelle. Among information in that report was that over 75%t of rollovers are caused by a driver’s action or inaction, the majority of rollovers are single vehicle crashes that occur on straight dry roadways (not exit ramps as is often thought,) and that about one-quarter of tanker rollovers involve straight trucks where the tank sits on the truck body. 

The DVD is free for downloading at www.tanktruck.org.

A free copy of the DVD can be obtained for review and reproduction by contacting NTTC at 703-838-1960, by email to  nttcstaff@tanktruck.org, or by mail to NTTC, 950 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington VA 22203. None of this material is copyright protected.