Severity
Incident
Leak
Yes
Ignition
No

Incident Synopsis
A H2 delivery truck accident occurred on a highway. The truck was pulling a trailer containing gaseous H2. Upon entering a sharp curve, the truck and trailer started to weave and pushed to the side of the road. The truck and trailer rolled about 40 feet downhill; the trailer rolled over 1 1/2 times and the tractor once, ending in the upright position with the driver still in his seat. The truck was completely totaled, but little damage was incurred by the trailer. The trailer shell was satisfactory with normal venting through the stack. The rear cabinet doors were warped shut.

Cause

The accident occurred on a bad road, which was steep with many sharp curves. The driver was going too fast for the road conditions and the type of trailer being pulled.
The truck driver was also used to transporting a liquid H2 trailer, which was smaller and had different weight and handling characteristics.

Incident Date
Dec 31, 1969
Equipment
  • Vehicle & Fueling Systems
  • Gaseous Hydrogen Delivery Vehicle
Damage and Injuries
Probable Cause
When Incident Discovered
Lessons Learned

When truck drivers are carrying new trailers, with new load distribution characteristics, they need to exercise caution, especially on hazardous roadways such as the one described in this occurrence. If the trailer stack would have been smashed and plugged or if the trailer shell would have been punctured and ignited, a much more severe accident would have occurred.
H2 truck drivers need to be educated on the explosive characteristics of H2 they are carrying, so they will have a built in incentive to drive with caution in similar situations.
Company policy should be clearly established to encourage safe driving practices under all conditions. Unsafe driving, in contrast, will not be tolerated.