• September 19, 2022

One Dead in Fiery 18-Wheeler Accident on I-35 in Austin, TX

Austin, TX — September 17, 2022, one person died after a crash where a tractor-trailer caught fire on Interstate 35 in South Austin.

Authorities say the incident happened around 9:05 p.m. on northbound I-35 near William Cannon Drive. There aren't many preliminary details about what happened, but responders reported that a 53-foot 18-wheeler hit the concrete base of a light pole for unknown reasons and then became fully engulfed in flames. They later confirmed that the truck driver died at the scene.

The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.

One Dead in Fiery 18-Wheeler Accident on I-35 in Austin, TX

Commentary on Fiery 18-Wheeler Accident on I-35 in Austin

Reports pretty much say only that a big crashed and caught fire here, but can't provide any insight about why. Many possible explanations, from driver mistakes to environmental factors to vehicle malfunctions, must be considered while connecting the dots.

One particular detail jumps out at me from reports: At some point during the accident the truck caught fire. That's a troublingly-common issue big rigs face in crashes, and it's often due to the placement and design of their saddle-style fuel tanks.

Because of their exposed placement at the sides of the truck, there's little protecting those thin metal tanks from rupturing during a wreck. Most would agree that an 18-wheeler crash is bad enough without becoming a fiery one, yet truck manufacturers have shown little interest in re-evaluating how the tanks are made or whether there's a better location to attach them. Click the link below to read more.

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