TRB’s Hazardous Materials Cooperative Research Program (HMCRP) Report 7: Role of Human Factors in Preventing Cargo Tank Truck Rollovers analyzes the causes of the major driver factors contributing to cargo tank truck rollovers and offers safety, management, and communication practices that can be used to help potentially minimize or eliminate driver errors in cargo tank truck operations.

This research project identifies good practices in safety, management, and communication that can help cargo tank truck fleet operators reduce the likelihood of rollovers. The research takes good practices from both within and outside the industry; they encompass training, hiring, dispatch (e.g., scheduling and journey planning), safety culture, technology, and other operational components.

This report aims to provide tools that operators can implement right away, both to see near-term results and to begin a sustained process. The busy fleet operator reading this report for practical and implementable solutions—and who may be less interested in the technical approach—will find case studies in Chapter 6 geared toward three specific practice areas. A broader discussion of good practices based on the research team’s extensive interviews can be found in Chapters 4 and 5.

Appendices containing forms useful in the implementation of said practices can be found online at by searching for HMCRP Report 7. The identification of common factors is valuable in ensuring that good practices address appropriate behaviors. HMCRP Report 1: Hazardous Materials Transportation Incident Data for Root Cause Analysis identifies the appropriate databases for this analysis. A sampling of 407 police accident reports (PARs) from eight states has been reviewed as a further source in identifying root factors. Driver-related causes are leading factors in cargo tank truck rollovers. These causes lead to the unsafe acts that directly lead to rollovers. Cargo tank truck operators do influence how drivers behave and do influence their state at the time unsafe acts occur or at the time the driver is faced with a threatening situation. For each of the contributing factors identified, operators can exert influence through programs and practices they put in place.

These include

  • Fitness for duty,
  • Health awareness,
  • Safety culture,
  • Hiring,
  • Training,
  • Scheduling and dispatch, and
  • Operations.

Good practices employed by companies both within and outside of the cargo tank truck industry have been identified through interviews with over 40 participants representing a cross-section of small to large carriers, private and for-hire fleets, senior executives to drivers, domestic and foreign operations, other industries, industry associations, and federal agencies.