An in- depth on- scene study of 42 road tanker incidents with flammable loads was conducted in New South Wales over a period of fifteen months. An engineer and a behavioural scientist attended the scene of each incident to determine the vehicle, environmental and human factors that led to the accident and the resulting losses. These investigations revealed features of vehicle and road design and human behaviour which interacted to the detriment of traffic and community safety. Roll instability was a common factor and rollover of the tankers occurred frequently. The reduced stability appeared to result from high centre of gravity, "soft" roll stiffness from suspension and turntables, and sloshing of the liquid cargo. Mechanical defects both in design and maintenance of the tankers appeared to be more frequent than has been the case in similar in- depth investigations of crashes involving other types of vehicles. Road geometry factors contributing to the 42 incidents occurred nine times and included curvature, cross section, grade and width. Other contributing factors reported were rough or slippery surface condition, roadside furniture, lack of controls (signs), or their inconspicuity or their unclear message. Common behavioural findings for tanker drivers were excessive speed for the conditions, fatigue and driving a vehicle with known defects. Tanker drivers did not report falling ill or being affected by alcohol whilst driving. Specific and general stresses on drivers were also found as factors in many of the crashes. Drivers and rescue workers were ignorant of the flame proof qualities of battery isolation switches. It appeared that improved education could have played a helpful role in familiarising drivers, rescuers and authorities with the tankers and salvage management. (TRRL)

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    New South Wales, Traffic Authority

    Traffic Accident Research Unit, 56 Rothschild Avenue
    Rosebery, New South Wales 2018,   Australia 
  • Authors:
    • Linklater, D R
  • Publication Date: 1984-1

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00388997
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • ISBN: 0-7240-7035-4
  • Report/Paper Numbers: No. 1/84
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 30 1984 12:00AM