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Could Better Design Help Prevent Semi Fuel Tank Crashes?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 10% of fuel truck fires caused 10% of truck accident fatalities in 2012. Considering how rare fuel truck fires are, that is a high number.


Part of the reason why so many fatalities happen with fuel tank fires is because of the nature of truck fuel. A semi can have up to 100 gallons of fuel, so if that ignites there is enough fuel for a huge fire or explosion. Secondly, fuel tank design on trucks means that the tank is placed outside the truck, under the driver’s cab. In the event of an explosion or fire, the passenger and driver are greatly endangered. Finally, experts have stated that the walls of the tank themselves are too thin and are not reinforced. In a serious collision, the fuel tank can puncture, creating a danger of fires and explosions.

In many cases, fuel truck fires are preventable. They may be caused by negligent driving, incorrect loading of flammable cargo, or truck defects. In cases where a passenger is injured through no fault of their own by a truck fuel fire, they have a right to seek answers and may have a right to seek compensation for their injuries.

Preventing Truck Fuel Fires

Back in 1989, the U.S. Department of Transportation recommended a number of changes to truck fuel lines and tanks. These recommendations included tougher fuel tanks that couldn’t be punctured as easily and better tank mounts. The U.S. Department of Transportation also suggested improving protection for tanks that were on the outside of the truck and therefore more vulnerable in collisions. Other experts have recommended improving crossover lines linking fuel tanks on semis.

Some industry experts say that fuel tanks on big rigs and large trucks haven’t changed much in the past four decades, even though design changes could prevent explosions and fires. Even though there are new designs available, many truck makers and truck companies don’t put a lot of priority on new fuel tanks because diesel fuel is less flammable than gas and because the design improvements would be costly to implement.

Do I Have a Claim?

If you have been injured in a fuel fire involving a large truck, you may have a claim. In many cases, these accidents are caused by negligence. Depending on the exact causes of your accident, you may have a claim against:

  • The truck company
  • The truck driver
  • Other drivers involved in the crash
  • The municipality where the accident took place

Your claim may even involve multiple liable parties. To find out whether you have a claim, contact a personal injury attorney in Hollywood or your South Florida community. An attorney can review the facts of your case and determine whether you have cause for legal action.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck fire or serious truck accident in Hollywood or anywhere in South Florida, contact Flaxman Law Group to discuss your situation with our honest and caring legal team. We’re happy to offer a free, no obligation consultation so your first discussion with us will not cost you anything and will not commit you to anything.