Driver Killed in Fiery 18-Wheeler Overturn Crash on I-85 in Orange County, NC
Hillsborough, NC — September 14, 2022, a truck driver died in a fiery tractor-trailer overturn crash on Interstate 85 in Orange County.
Authorities say the incident happened shortly before 2:30 a.m. on I-85 near exit 165 to NC-86 near Hillsborough. Preliminary investigation suggests only that an 18-wheeler carrying chickens was traveling on the highway when the driver may have lost control for unknown reasons. The truck then overturned in the area and caught fire, becoming engulfed before responders arrived.
The truck driver died in the accident, which remains under investigation. It's currently unknown if any other vehicles or people were involved.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on I-85 Truck Accident in Orange County
As authorities try to find more information about what happened here, I already see a couple of details that give me pause: Not only did the truck overturn, but it caught fire too. Both of those happen with troubling regularity during 18-wheeler crashes, but in many cases there's some question about whether they should have.
I've learned over the years that trucking industry manufacturers sometimes show a startling lack of concern for the safety of their end-users, which means truck drivers are often grievously injured or killed in crashes they likely should have escaped with minimal injury.
For instance, in many cases trucks that should be able to withstand a rollover crumple under their own weight due to the poor manufacturing of their fiberglass cabins. 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 Orange County, sometimes both of those happen, and in many cases that means a driver who arguably could have survived a wreck instead tragically loses their life.
I'm not claiming to know how well the truck in North Carolina was designed or built, but before anyone starts guessing about the cause of the crash or the victim's passing it seems like a careful and thorough investigation of all possible factors is in order.