• July 22, 2022

One Killed in Fiery Truck Accident on I-95S in Palm Beach County, FL

Palm Beach County, IN — July 19, 2022, a 32-year-old man died in a fiery crash with an 18-wheeler on Interstate 95 South in Palm Beach County.

According to preliminary reports the incident happened around 5:15 a.m. along I-95 South near exit 50, between Boca Raton and Delray Beach. Investigators say the man was in a stopped SUV, blocking the far right travel lane, when a tractor-trailer approached and rear-ended him.

After the impact the SUV caught fire and he suffered fatal injuries. No other injuries were reported.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Truck Accident on I-95S in Palm Beach County

It seems like there are still a lot of important details to iron out about this accident. Was the victim stopped and blocking the lane as reports suggested? If so, why? Was something wrong with his vehicle? Were its lights on? Could or should the truck driver have seen the SUV from far enough away to stop or steer clear of it? Were they awake, alert, and paying attention to their surroundings?

While seeking to answer those and many other questions, I'm concerned that an important detail might get overlooked: After being hit, the SUV caught fire. Why exactly did that happen? Did its gas tank rupture? If so, why? Is it attached somewhere unsafe, as it is on many styles of vehicle? Could or should it have been designed or placed differently to better prevent it from igniting in a rear-end collision?

One Killed in Fiery Truck Accident on I-95S in Palm Beach County, FL

It may seem a little odd to focus on that detail, but the unfortunate fact is that many vehicles' gas tanks are attached in places where they have little protection or cushioning from a crash. Even though automakers realize that, many of them have never invested the time or energy to design a better system. A clear example would be older-model Jeeps: Their gas tanks were attached behind the rear axle with little more than the plastic bumper to protect it from collisions. Unsurprisingly that didn't do the trick and hundreds of Jeeps combusted during crashes. The poor design cost over 50 people their lives before Jeeps got remodeled, and millions of them with the rear gas tank are still cruising America's roadways.

To be clear, I don't know what kind of SUV the victim was in and I'm not pointing any fingers at its manufacturer. Between the vehicle fire and questions about exactly how things happened on I-95, though, it's clear that a careful and thorough investigation is needed. Will law enforcement conduct one, or should independent professionals take a closer look?

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