A Car Crashed Under a Semi, Leading to a Fire in North Austin
by lauraramos | January 8th, 2024 | Car Accident Reports
Not a photo of the crash
A car ended up underneath a semi-truck which subsequently caught fire in Austin on January 4. Underride guards are meant to prevent vehicles from going under semi-trucks, but they aren’t required on all sides of the trailer.
Keep reading to learn more about the fiery crash and underride guard laws in Texas from Ramos James Law, Austin car accident injury lawyers.
The Austin Car Accident
According to authorities with the Austin Fire Department, a car accident led to a truck fire in North Austin on Thursday, January 4. The accident happened before 9:46 a.m. in the 11900 block of the I-35 service road, between Tech Ridge Boulevard and Braker Lane.
In the southbound lanes of the service road, a truck and sedan were involved in a collision that left the sedan fully wedged underneath the trailer of the truck. Pictures of the accident show a dark-colored vehicle completely under the tractor-trailer. The sedan reached about the halfway point under the trailer.
Both the trailer and the sedan caught fire following the collision. Emergency responders reported that the driver of the sedan was transported to a nearby hospital with potentially serious injuries. Another person on the scene refused transport for injuries.
It has not been reported how the sedan crashed under the semi.
Texas Underride Guard Regulations
Truck accidents pose a serious danger to other drivers and passengers on the road. One factor that greatly contributes to that danger is the potential for cars to crash under semi-truck trailers. The bottom of truck trailers typically sit at least four feet off the ground, and that leaves plenty of room for a vehicle to pass beneath. To help prevent that issue, the law requires that truck companies add underride guards that block the underside of the trailer. However, not all guards are required.
Underride guards can be placed under the rear and sides of a trailer, but federal law only requires a rear underride guard, and Texas doesn’t require side guards either. This means that the sides of truck trailers are still a significant hazard on the road.
How Do Car Accident Fires Start?
Despite the fact that most cars run on combustion engines, most car accidents do not involve a vehicle fire. Instead, specific things need to happen for a fire to catch. There are a few things that can cause a fire after a car accident. First, the car may overheat, leading flammable liquids to spill onto incredibly hot surfaces within the engine and catch fire. These types of car accident fires usually don’t start right away after an accident.
Another potential cause of crash fires is electrical system issues. When a car crashes, the wiring that makes up the electrical systems can be damaged and cause sparks, and those sparks can ignite the flammable liquids found in the engine.
Finally, any mechanical or electrical defects or faults in the vehicle can also contribute to crash fires. That’s part of why it’s so important to keep up with regular vehicle maintenance and repairs.