Marcillac english summary

At around 12:11 a.m. on Thursday 28 April 2011, an articulated lorry consisting of a tractor unit and a semi-trailer travelling in the slow lane of the A10 motorway in a North-South direction, suddenly swerved to the right, continued along the hard shoulder and then tipped over on its right-hand side while attempting to get back onto the carriageway, skidding across its full width and running into the double crash barrier situated on the central reservations. It then came to rest in a position that blocked the entire carriageway and the emergency hard shoulder, at reference point (PR) 494.7 in the municipality of Marcillac in the département of Gironde. Shortly afterwards, a van travelling in the fast lane and in the same direction collided head-on into the floor of the semi-trailer.
The accident caused the death of seven people : the driver of the articulated lorry and the six occupants of the van.

The initial cause of the accident was the loss of control of the articulated lorry which, by overturning, prevented any possibility of travelling on the motorway lanes.

It has been impossible to determine the cause of this loss of control with certainty. The investigations conducted have not revealed any specific problems relating to the condition of the vehicles, the road infrastructure or the driver’s health. The most plausible hypothesis is that the driver fell asleep, although he was in compliance with the legislation on working and driving conditions.
Once it had turned over onto its right-hand side, with its chassis facing the oncoming traffic in the middle of the night, the semi-trailer was difficult to see by drivers travelling on the motorway lanes in question. This very probably explains why the van smashed into it at full speed.

With regard to the circumstances of this accident and its probable causes, BEA-TT issued no specific recommendations at the end of this investigation. However, it emphasised the need to comply with the mandatory requirement to wear seatbelts, including for HGV drivers.

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