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Design Considerations for Prevention of Cargo Tank Rollovers

State WI
Description Text

I received the attached memo from FHWA today (INFORMATION: Design Considerations for Prevention of Cargo Tank Rollovers - September 3, 2010). I have only skimmed through the document, but I am concerned that FHWA is recommending the use of taller vertical barrier without considering the effect of head slap on smaller vehicles. 


If MwRSF could review view this document and provide comments it would be appreciated.  I wish to send a letter back to FHWA indicating my concerns about the use of taller barrier wall without considering head slap.

  • Permanent Concrete Barriers
Other Keywords none
Date September 7, 2010
Attachment PreventCargoTankRollers.pdf


I have briefly reviewed the attached information. From my review, FHWA has noted the concern for head slap against taller TL-6 barriers such as a 90-in. configuration tested at TTI years ago. However, this same concern does not appear within the guidance to correspond to TL-5 barriers which have commonly been configured with 42-in. high RC parapets. You have correctly pointed out that 42-in. parapets can also pose risks of head ejection and contact against taller barriers. I believe that Dean has uncovered the risks associated with ejected passengers resulting in serious injuries and/or fatalities after analyzing accident data for the State of Kansas as part of the median barrier study.


I believe that the roadside safety community needs to be careful about blindly placing a large number of tall, rigid barriers in more locations in an effort to contain the rare occurrence of a tractor-tank trailer into piers and other structures, especially if it results in much greater risk of injury/fatality for occupant of passenger vehicles to have partial body/head ejection against tall, rigid barriers. If deemed necessary, it would seem reasonable to utilize TL-5 barrier designs which can both prevent catastrophic crashes as well as reduce/prevent head slap against tall parapets for the occupants of passenger vehicles.

Date September 17, 2010

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