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Published by Tim Richardson

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Published by: Tim Richardson on Jul 22, 2013
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 AAA Calls Upon NTSB To Review Bay Bridge Safety 
1405 G St, NW Washington, DC, 20005 202-481-6820 
July 22, 2013Honorable Deborah HersmanChairman National Transportation Safety Board
490 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
 Washington, DC 20594Dear Chairman Hersman:According to news reports, on Friday night, July 19, a passenger vehicle travelling eastbound on
Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge was struck by a large truck, went over the barrier and plunged 40
feet into the Chesapeake Bay. Thankfully the driver survived.Based upon the news reports, we believe this crash merits investigation by the NTSB, and call uponyour agency to undertake an investigation.AAA Mid-Atlantic, which represents nearly 900,000 member motorists in Maryland, has questioned barrier standards in the wake of several high-profile tragedies in the state. For example, followinganother fatal crash on the Bridge in August 2008, when a tractor trailer went off the bridge and thedriver died, we expressed strong concern about the failure of the barriers to keep the truck on the bridge. We had expressed similar concerns with the Maryland State Highway Administration evenearlier, when a large gas tanker truck went through a barrier on an I-895 overpass above I-95 andcrashed onto I-95 killing several motorists in the inferno. In both incidents, Maryland authoritiesinformed us that federal standards only required barriers to contain cars and impacts from car crashes.Federal specifications, they said, did not require barriers to be able to withstand direct impacts fromtractor trailers.Based upon recent history, there would appear to be a failure of the restraint system on the Bay Bridge.Although a truck was involved, the vehicle that ultimately hit the barrier, and then went over it, was a passenger vehicle. This clearly raises questions about whether there was a failure of the specificrestraint system used on the bridge, and whether it meets federal specifications, or whether the federalspecifications for bridge barriers are inadequate to restrain a vehicle in this type of crash. If so, doesthis warrant an examination of the adequacy of those federal specifications?Given that the Bay Bridge is very heavily used with typically over 25 million vehicle trips a year, we believe it is important that motorists know that if a crash happens, the structures on the Bridge willkeep
them on the Bridge. We believe it’s critical that your agency investigate this so that millions of 

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