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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has proposed new safety recommendations for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

The NTSB reviewed two separate accidents in which a truck towing a trailer full of acetylene tanks overturned, one in Louisiana and the other in Colorado. In both accidents the acetylene tanks were ejected from their trailer. Then they caught fire due to either the valves were wither broken off when thrown from the trailer, or melted from the resulting fire.

The NTSB has made the following safety recommendation to the PHMSA:

Modify 49 Code of Federal Regulations173.301 to clearly require (1) that cylinders be securely mounted on mobile acetylene trailers and other trailers with manifolded cylinders to reduce the likelihood of cyliners being ejected during and accident and (2) that the cylider valves, piping and finttils be protected from mulitdirectional impact forces that are likely to occur during highway accidents, including rollovers. (H-09-1)

It is somewhat perplexing that these types of safety recommendations are even necessary when you would think that common sense would have prevailed long ago. How can one not know that speeding down the highway with acetelyne tanks on a trailer would be a potentially dangerous situation and that extra safety precautions should be taken?

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