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Exploding semi highlights familiar trucking dangers

A refrigerated tanker truck exploded after grazing the side of an interchange ramp. While the crash did not kill anyone, it sparked discussions about serious truck accident dangers.

The accident occurred around 1:00 a.m. last Thursday. A trucker grazed his truck along the side of an interchange ramp, tearing off a portion of the truck and igniting a massive blaze. The trucker barely had time to escape the fire. According to other truck drivers, this Michigan area has a reputation for truck wrecks.

A number of signs warn truckers to slow down while taking the ramp because large trucks only have a few inches of room to maneuver. Truckers complain that car traffic in the area makes it harder for them to comply with these clear instructions, however. The local department of transportation notes that the ramp is unusually long with lots of space for trucks to merge.

Familiar trucking accident factors could explain why truckers claim to have a difficult time here. First, truckers have incentives to drive fast to earn more money. Fast driving habits might lead drivers to speed in this area as well. Second, drivers often work dangerously long hours and drive with very little sleep. Inattentiveness could play a role-especially in late night accidents like this. Finally, equipment malfunctions and improper load distributions can also result in truck wrecks.

While it is not clear whether any of these issues caused the crashes that apparently happen on this roadway. But the accident does highlight how the trucking industry frequently operates with very little room for error, risking catastrophic wrecks as a result.

Source: Fox 17, "Fiery Wreck Raises Concerns About Highway's Safety Record," Jennifer Dowling, Sept. 6, 2012

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