One Killed in Head-On Truck Accident on I-40 in Fayette County, TN
Fayette County, TN — November 23, 2022, one person died when two tractor-trailers collided and at least on caught fire on Interstate 40 in Fayette County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 1:00 p.m. on I-40 near mile marker 43. Preliminary investigation suggests only that two 18-wheelers collided, possibly head-on, in the area for unknown reasons. After the impact one of the trucks caught fire and its trailer detached.
Officials confirmed at least one fatality from the crash. It's unclear whether anyone else was injured.
The investigation is ongoing. No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Truck Accident on I-40 in Fayette County
A crash this large and severe may have many more to it than early reports suggest. Chalking the whole thing up to one driver crossing left of center may be tempting as a simple explanation, but things rarely reduce down to a single factor that way. Not only must the precise cause of that crossover be learned, but investigators have to find out what specifically caused the victim's fatal injuries.
For instance, this is far from the first truck accident I've seen where a big rig caught fire. The question is whether it really had to: The positioning and exposure of big rigs' "saddle" gas tanks mean they often rupture during a wreck and turn an already-serious situation far worse. Over the years it's become clear that truck manufacturers are highly reluctant to redesign their vehicles to move or better protect those tanks, which puts many truckers in danger during crashes like the one in Fayette County.
I'm not saying with certainty that anything was wrong with the victim's truck, but I think most would agree that catching fire couldn't have helped the situation. Why it did so is just one of many details that still need clarifying during a full investigation. A thorough effort might confirm what police first thought, but it could also reveal other details that change what should come next.