Report on accident in Vestre Flogvatn in Sirdal, 15 September 2005

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The driver, an employee of Høiland AS2, started from Drammen, south eastern Norway, at about 1730 hours on Thursday Sept. 15. to deliver empty milk trolleys at Klepp in the south western part of Norway on the following day. He chose to drive the county road, Fv 987, through Sirdal, and thus did not comply with the company internal rule prohibiting use of this route.

At about 2218 hours the trailer, driving at a speed of 80 km/h, met a sharp right curve. The trailer skidded towards the left, and hit the guardrail with the left side of the semi-trailer. Thereafter the trailer tipped over on the left hand side and ended sideways in the nearby lake. The roof and the front of the cabin hit the bottom of the lake, and the trailer ended up under the water, wheels facing up.

Nearly two hours passed from the trailer was submerged in the lake until the driver was brought out by divers from the air ambulance. Based on the results of the forensic examination it is probable that the serious injuries inflicted upon the driver hindered him from escaping the cabin, and the cause of death was drowning. The position and the functionality of the seat belt on the driver’s side after the accident indicate that the belt had not been in use at the time of the accident.

The results of the investigation of the Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN) show that high speed in relation to the road condition, and especially the sharp curve, was a direct cause of the run off. During the investigation it appeared that the driver was intoxicated, and that the driver had an offensive driving behaviour. Driving under the influence of narcotic substances had a substantial negative effect on the driver’s risk taking and attentiveness. The AIBN also considers the blind curve with a complex and small curve radius to be a contributing factor to the accident. The information and optical guidance through the curve were not sufficient.

It is the opinion of the AIBN that health, safety and environment (HSE) issues had not been sufficiently managed in the transport company. The driver’s driving pattern and abuse of drugs should have been more closely attended to by Høiland AS as the employer. Several violations of the regulations on working hours and driving times and rest periods were found for the driver. The AIBN considers that these conditions had negative effects for the driver involved and for the general maintenance of traffic safety in the company’s operations.

The AIBN considers it to be a weakness that neither the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority nor the Norwegian Public Roads Administration had carried out inspections of the transport company for the last five years. Nor had inspection/control been undertaken after the accident. Information emerging from this investigation shows a lack of goal-oriented and coordinated supervision of employers in the road transport industry.

It appears that the driver’s drug abuse had not been discovered by the health services and/or that the health services had not complied with their duty to report this. In the AIBN’s opinion, it is a weakness that there are no requirements for regular medical examinations for professional drivers, considering their safety critical function.

The AIBN considers the road (Fv 987) to lack necessary safety characteristics, and the road standard is not compatible with the traffic which it allows. Further, the investigation has identified that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration’s follow-up on accident risks on county roads is inadequate. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration had not registered the particular curve as a safety problem, in despite of three other accidents with personal injuries since 2002, and the road had never been risk assessed.

As a result of this investigation, the AIBN has made seven safety recommendations to Høiland AS, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority, the Directorate for Health and Social Affairs and the Norwegian Board of Health.


Vestre Flogvatn in Sirdal
Occurrence date
Accident type
Run-off-the-road accident
Road class
County road
Police Disctrict
Vehicle type
Truck and trailer
Type of Transportation
Freight transport
Skriv ut
Reports same county
Reports same vehicle type