These cases are often large because of cargo loss and fire. Sometimes whole neighborhoods burn. Despite the potential for huge losses, tanker manufacturers still rely on outdated technology for cargo retention. The following cases highlight some of our work in this area. They also show that we have used tests to prove that tankers are poorly protected.

A tanker truck in Providence suffers a blowout and rolls over on a ramp. The earth is relatively soft, and the manhole protectors dig in and fail to keep the manholes intact. Gasoline spills and catches fire, resulting in serious burns to the driver.





A tanker rolls over in Sacramento on a neighborhood street and slides into a field. The tanker leaks and sets fire to several buildings. The NTSB said that a pressure spike popped off a sensor on a manhole cover and caused the leak that led to the fire. Our tests showed that this was impossible. The manholes and their appurtenances were inadequately protected.


We've tested manhole protectors and commented in Federal dockets. We have found that current manhole protector design specifications are not adequate to protect the vulnerable manholes.

In another case, a gasoline tanker rolls over on a highway ramp and slides into a curb which tears the tank open. The curbs showed evidence of many impacts from previous accidents. They were totally inappropriate for a high speed expressway ramp.

Another tanker vulnerability is their loading lines. Ever since owners started bottom loading gasoline to mitigate air pollution, tankers have traveled the nation's highways with vulnerable gasoline-filled drop lines. But these lines are required by law to break away in a collision. This can make a minor collision into a major disaster as in this case.



Sometimes, the design is good but the maintenance is faulty. In this case, a city block in NYC burns down when a tanker collides with a car and plows into a corner building.