• September 12, 2022

Benjamin Neto Injured in Fiery Big Rig Crash on US-81 in Fillmore County, NE

Fillmore County, NE — September 7, 2022, 55-year-old Benjamin Neto was injured when his semi-truck rolled over and caught fire in Fillmore County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 11:30 p.m. near the crossing of U.S. Highway 81 and State Highway 74, south of Geneva. Preliminary investigation suggests Neto was driving a semi-truck with multiple trailers attached on US-81 when he lost control for unknown reasons. The truck overturned and rolled, then caught fire.

Neto managed to escape the burning truck but suffered burn injuries. He was transported in serious condition to an area hospital.

The investigation is ongoing. No further information is currently available.

Benjamin Neto Injured in Fiery Big Rig Crash on US-81 in Fillmore County, NE

Commentary on Benjamin Neto Accident in Fillmore County

As authorities try to find more information about this accident, I already see a couple of details that give me pause: Not only did the truck overturn during the accident, but it caught fire too. Both of those happen with troubling regularity during 18-wheeler crashes, but in many cases there's some question as to whether they really should have.

There's an unfortunate problem in the trucking industry where manufacturers display a lack of concern for the safety of the people who end up driving their trucks. In many cases trucks that should be able to withstand a rollover crumple under their own weight due to shoddy manufacturing; in others the poorly-placed "saddle" gas tanks on a big rig rupture and catch fire, turning an already-bad situation into something far worse. As we see in Fillmore County, sometimes both of those happen, and in many cases that means a driver who reasonably should have escape their crash unscathed ends up in a burn ward instead.

I'm not claiming to know one way or the other whether the truck in Nebraska was designed or built poorly, but before anyone starts blaming the driver for his own injuries it seems like a careful and thorough investigation of all possible factors is in order.

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