The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) is reviewing why an emergency ramp did not properly catch a runaway truck. As a truck pulling a flatbed trailer of 32 large logs was descending over Teton Pass, the brakes went out. The driver shifted into a lower gear to try and slow the truck down, but as it was descending it started to pick up speed. When the driver realized he could not take the curves, he plowed into the Wyoming Department of Transportation truck arrestor. The truck was steered into the arrestor’s catchnet system and barreled through all of eight of them, coming out on the other end. Wyoming Highway Trooper Todd Baxter stated, “The anticipated performance is for the vehicle to be stopped inside the ramp and not go all the way through.” The arrestor is designed with a catchnet system to force out-of-control trucks to stop before barreling over the edge of Teton Pass. The driver expressed when the impact of his truck hit the first barrier it was intense. The straps holding down the logs snapped, and the logs went tumbling down the side of the mountain.
The ramp is now closed as it is being investigated into why it did not stop the truck. Unfortunately, the truck is the smallest vehicle yet to enter the arrestor and for it to not stop has caused concern. It will be tested to see exactly what failed and what needs to be implemented for trucks of all sizes to be stopped. The emergency ramps are designed that if something is to go wrong it is a safe place to pull out. This truck went through all eight arrestors before being stopped. Although the driver did not have critical injuries, it does cause unease that the emergency ramp did not work as it should have.
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