This report discusses the overturn of a tractor-semitrailer transporting torpedoes for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) on an interstate highway in Denver, Colorado, about 4:48 a.m., m.d.t., on August 1, 1984. Local emergency response organizations were unable to gain immediate access to authoritative information and expertise on the threat to the safety of the community posed by the torpedoes. When emergency response personnel called the DOD at two telephone numbers listed on the shipping paper, neither telephone was answered. The DOD response to the accident was fragmented, slow, and confusing to onscene civilian emergency response personnel. Information provided to onscene emergency response personnel was not coordinated through a DOD focal point, and sometimes in an attempt to provide as much information as possible, some information not specific to the accident conditions or environment was provided. It was determined that the probable cause of the accident was driver inexperience and excessive speed for the configuration of the ramp. Other contributory causes were as follows: ineffectiveness of signing on the configuration of the ramp; higher-than-necessary center of gravity of the loaded vehicle due to limited options provided by the Department of Defense loading instuctions; and inadequate driver qualification standards. There also was a lack of means for local emergency personnel to obtain technical information about the hazards of the shipment, inappropriate recommendations for action, and lack of clear procedures for providing a prompt emergency response.

  • Corporate Authors:

    National Transportation Safety Board

    Bureau of Accident Investigation, 800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20594
  • Publication Date: 1985-10-21

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices;
  • Pagination: 66 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00495779
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NTSB/HZM-85/02, HS-039 675
  • Files: HSL, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 31 1990 12:00AM