Report on a head-on collision between a passenger car and a van on the E39 at Austefjorden, Volda, Møre og Romsdal on 20 October 2019.


On the morning of 20 October 2019, on the E39 northbound, immediately south of the Damfoss tunnel in Volda, a van with two persons on board lost its grip on the ice-covered road surface in a Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority right-hand bend. The van crossed into the opposite lane and collided head-on with an estate car of approximately the same weight, fully laden with passengers. Both vehicles are considered to have driven at a speed around the speed limit in the 80 km/h speed limit zone. The persons in the front seats of both vehicles sustained only minor injuries. The left rear seat passenger in the estate car was unsecured and died later from the injuries sustained in the collision. The middle rear seat passenger was secured by a seat belt and died instantly from extensive injuries. The right rear seat passenger was secured, but sustained critical abdominal injuries probably as a result of sliding under the seat belt during the collision. It became clear after the accident that the van driver was driving without a driving licence. The NSIA maintains that driving without a licence is unacceptable from a road safety perspective. The NSIA also considers that the road conditions in the bend where the accident occurred did not meet the operating requirement for bare roadways, and that they were demanding and difficult to identify at the time of the accident. In the NSIA’s opinion, the road conditions at the scene were so bad that any driver would have found them challenging. In its further investigations, the NSIA focused on the sequence of events and survival aspects of the accident, and why the injuries sustained by the rear seat passengers were so different and so much more severe than those suffered by the other passengers. The investigation concentrated on the safety equipment in the estate car’s different seats, and looked in particular at the safety level for the middle rear seat passenger. (Author/publisher)

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Library number
20210734 ST [electronic version only]

Lillestrøm, Norway, Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority NSIA, 2020, 37 p., 11 ref.; Report Road ; 2020/07

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