Report on head-on collision accident in Rorbu, Gol 4 December 2005

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Description

An Opel Corsa passenger car with driver (male, 24 years old) and one passenger was travelling from Hemsedal towards Gol on Rv 52. The driver had cerebral palsy, and special equipment (hand operated gas/brake and steering wheel knob) was installed in the passenger car. In the opposite traffic lane on Rv 52, a tourist bus without passengers was travelling westbound. It was snowing, and parts of the roadway tracks may have been slippery. There was about 2 cm snow/slush between the wheel tracks.

On a straight part of the road the passenger car skidded and the driver attempted to maintain control of the car. The car then skidded to the other side and went sideways towards the opposite traffic lane where it collided with the tourist bus. Both vehicles stopped in a ditch about 45 m from the assumed collision point. The passenger car ended up partly under the buss with the front end facing down into a culvert/ditch. The driver and the passenger of the car were fatally injured.

The car followed the traffic and the investigation does not show that the car driver had driven particularly fast prior to the accident. The driving conditions contributed to the car’s instability on the road. The car’s special equipment and the driver’s physical disability may have contributed to the driver not managing to recover from the skid. The driver had not received a safety course on a closed track (skidpan) and training to handle skids with the specially equipped car.

The AIBN considers that the tyres of the passenger car were not in optimum condition and position, and thus can not exclude the tyres’ contribution to the accident. In any case, the AIBN believes that if the car had been equipped with Electronic Stability Control, the driver would have had better possibilities of maintaining control of the car.

The AIBN considers that the difference in mass between the passenger car and the bus, the sideways collision, together with the deep culvert/ditch which trapped the passenger car under the bus, exacerbated the damage of the accident. In this connection the investigation shows that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration had not carried out a traffic safety inspection on Rv 52 or in other ways examined this part of road to uncover dangerous traffic conditions.

The driving conditions can not be characterised as especially poor and the roadway was salted. Even though the requirements in the road maintenance contract were not exceeded, the AIBN considers that the second initiative was initiated too late in relation to the weather conditions. The investigation shows that there is a potential for traffic safety improvements related to winter maintenance.

Safety weaknesses exist as there are no requirements for drivers already having a driving licence to take additional driving lessons and undergo a skill test after the car has been modified. The AIBN is not aware of any formal routines/guidelines for the approval regarding modifications of cars for drivers with physical disabilities established by the Directorate of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. Norwegian car allowance for persons with physical disabilities is given without any requirements to the collision and safety characteristics of the car, or other safety equipment, e.g. Electronic Stability Control.

As a result of this investigation, the AIBN has made five safety recommendations.

 

Location
Rorbu in Gol
Occurrence date
04.12.2005
Accident type
Head-on collision
Road class
National road
County
Buskerud
Vehicle type
Bus or coach, Passenger car
Type of Transportation
Transfer work/assignment, Private transport
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