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U.S. Tanker Trucks Need Anti-Rollover Retrofits, NTSB Says

The National Transportation Safety Board is urging regulators to require rollover-prevention technology on fuel-tanker trucks, following its probe of a fiery 2009 crash in Indianapolis.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Transportation Department’s trucking regulator, should mandate anti-rollover retrofits for cargo tank trailers that weigh more than 10,000 pounds, the NTSB said in recommendations sent to the agency today.

Tankers carrying hazardous materials may be top-heavy and vulnerable to minor steering errors, the board said in its accident report. Quality Distribution Inc. and closely held Groendyke Transport are among the companies that would be affected by a retrofit.

The safety board, which cannot implement changes, completed its investigation of the Indianapolis crash in July, concluding that a rollover that released 9,001 gallons of liquefied petroleum gas could have been prevented with stability control.

Without regulation, the trucking industry has had little incentive to pay for the technology, the safety board said. Because of the long working life of tankers, it may take 50 years for stability control technology to be used throughout fleets without mandated retrofits, it said.

The October 22, 2009, Indianapolis crash displaced a pier holding a bridge on Interstate 465, closing an interchange for several days. The trucker and another driver sustained serious injuries.

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