Report on road accident at the E6 road by Bjørnbærvika near Mo i Rana 1 December 2016

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Description

On Thursday, 1 December 2016, a passenger car with a driver and a passenger, was heading south along the E6, south of Mo i Rana. Here it lost its traction in a right-hand curve at Bjørnbærvika and skidded into the opposite lane. The car collided head to head with a heavy goods vehicle, and both occupants in the passenger car died immediately in the collision.

The investigation of the AIBN has shown that there were several coincidental and adverse factors contributing to the accident. There driving conditions were demanding, with ice formation on the road, varying radius of curvature and variation in the tilt of the curve. A challenging, and rapid change of weather with ice and frost formation in Bjørnbærvika at the time of the accident, was also an important contributing factor for the accident to happen.

The driver of the passenger car were familiar with the route, but the speed selection in this situation meant that the safety margins were exceeded in the current conditions. Even though the time of year and temperature meant that the roadway could be frozen, the difficult and local conditions in the curve were not obvious or easy to identify from the driver's seat.

The passenger car was an older model, with older non-studded, but legal winter tires. It lacked driver support systems such as ABS brakes, or anti-skid systems, and the passenger car was demanding to handle on ice-lined roads. The car also lacked modern collision protection systems.

The prevailing weather conditions imposed greater need of decision support for operational and maintenance than those available to the contractor. The contractor did not detect the ice formation on the road before the accident occurred, so measures were not taken. In combination with varying curvature radius and uneven tilt in the curve, this also affected the margin of safety, negatively.

AIBN submits two safety recommendations as a result of this investigation, one about road geometry, and one about weather forecasting as decision support to winter maintenance.

Safety recommendation

Safety recommendation ROAD No 2017/12T

The investigation of the fatal accident at E6 in Bjørnbærvika on 1 December 2016 has shown there is a long distance between the weather stations that detect road temperature. Road temperature measurements are an important tool for the contractors decision support in order to implement preventive measures in weather situations around zero degrees. It is considered particularly important on distances and in areas where the roads that have a challenging geometry in combination with seasonal weather and climate challenges.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway recommends that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) review the locations and density of weather stations along the E6 in the area of Mo i Rana, to reinforce the decision support for winter operations in the area.

Safety recommendation ROAD No 2017/13T

The investigation of the fatal accident at E6 at Bjørnbærvika, on December 1 2016, revealed a deviation in the tilt of the curve after the asphalt repaving in 2015. Tilt and radius of curvature are important parameters for driving safety, but can be difficult to detect for road users under good friction conditions. The AIBN considers the description and control of asphalt repaving work, not to take this sufficiently into account.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway recommends that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) implement routines for detecting unfortunate tilting in curves prior to repaving, so that this can be rectified and checked in the aftermath of the asphalt work performed.

Location
E6, Bjørnbærvika Mo i Rana
Occurrence date
01.12.2016
Accident type
Head-on collision
Road class
European road
County
Nordland
Police Disctrict
Helgeland
Vehicle type
Lorry, Passenger car, Truck and trailer
Type of Transportation
Freight transport, Private transport
Road region
Northern Region
Accident category
Ulykke m/ kjøretøy over 7500 kg
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