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Can Fire Cause Truck Accident? A Synopsis

Burning Truck

There is much news of late about truck accidents worldwide. Several reasons have been investigated for the fatality. One of them is fire. No, it’s not about any revengeful psycho kindling the truck with kerosene or petrol.

We are talking about the auto generated ignition that lit a whole truck and burn it into ashes alongside probable clashes. Although fire cases are not regular, yet they are extremely deadly. The source of truck fire usually indicates towards the lack of maintenance like wiring insulation failure, impaired hose, wheels, tires, and brakes.

It is possible to prevent the failures with the right maintenance. Proper lubrication of the bearings of the wheels and the identification of the leaks decrease the potential risk of locked and frozen bearing.

We have received the statement of the National Transportation Safety board which says that daily inspection of the levels of hub oil and wheel seals are necessary for the averting of wheel bearing failure. Otherwise, it can lead to wheel fire and other serious outcomes.

Poor tires and faulty brake system pose a risk of devastating fire. The dragging brakes give rise to momentous heat. The operator may not identify it easily. He/she remains unaware of the brake problem and continues to drive the truck. Thus, the brake system must be taken care of regularly.

The truck companies must pay heed to the fluid hoses and the wiring insulation and check whether there is a crack and any other general degradation. Special emphasis should be given on the specific areas where the electrical cables and the hoses are in direct connection with other objects.

The abrasion and the vibration cause the hidden damages at the contact point which are recognizable on the cable and the hose that apparently look in proper condition. Owing to the closer inspection of the connecting points, the truck mechanics must be attentive towards the wiring insulation, hoses, wiring looms, harnesses, etc. situated in the nearby proximity to the hot zones like close to the turbocharger and furtherance where the exhaust pipe passages out the engine compartment. The heat shields fixed by the manufacturer that protect the combustible materials from the hot surfaces should be inspected. The inspectors must examine if the heat shield is properly re-installed after the last service, still damaged or not at all re-installed.

A couple of scenarios have been found existing in most of the cases of trucks catching fires:

  • During or after the collision
  • No attention to truck maintenance

As per ARCCA, the crucial cause is the diesel that caught fire when it splashed on the heated surface, or, contacted the positive electric cable that proceeds to the ground. Again, the diode that is internal to the alternator has worsened to the point that it was not able to handle the fire. The consequence lies in the alternator catching fire and leading to the entire truck burning.

The survey reveals that the electrical fires have generally taken place on the tractors and the roll-offs. Moreover, the vehicles that are more vulnerable to the electrical fires are front, side and rear loaders, and recycling trucks. Use of battery disconnected switches, regular routine inspection, electrical cable maintenance, etc. decrease the probability of the electrically induced fires.

Another risk factor is the hot loads. When a transfer trailer or a waste truck is left overnight, it can turn the truck into ashes. Around 25% of the truck fires are due to the hot loads. If the hot load happens during the traveling, the efficient driver usually ejects the load on the street. It turns to the expenditure for cleaning up the mess, but it saves the truck from catching fire.

  • Some fire preventive tips:
  • Make sure that all the refuse trucks are installed with battery disconnected switches. A written company policy must be established about the mandatory usage of the switches during the parked position of the trucks. Periodic spot checking is required for verifying the usage of the disconnected switches by the drivers.
  • The documented inspections of the battery cables, frayed cables missing through-hole grommets and cable tie-downs, grease and debris buildups are obligatory. Monthly surveillance of the crankcase, fuel lines, exhaust system and hydraulic hoses must be done and the leakages should be fixed and blockages must be cleaned up.
  • The safety meetings for the present drivers and updated training to them should be provided. In fact, new drivers must go through trial test after being educated about them. Everyone must be aware of the company policies related to the truck fires.
  • The waste trucks and the trailers must not be left loaded throughout the night.
  • Remind the drivers frequently about the importance of vehicle fire preventions and the dealing procedure. Reminders, bulletin board messages, safety meeting, paycheck stuffers etc. are the methods to do it.

Stop truck fires; say ‘No’ to accidents.

Contributed by: https://www.texas-truckaccidentlawyer.com/

A post by Greg Baumgartner (45 Posts)

Greg Baumgartner is author at LeraBlog. The author's views are entirely his/her own and may not reflect the views and opinions of LeraBlog staff.
25 years in high profile wrongful death cases, with extensive track record in commercial vehicle accidents, product liability and construction site accidents.

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