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I-25 Through Denver Shut Down Due To Tanker Truck Crash

The tanker truck accident that shut down I-25 near Orchard Road on Wednesday afternoon should serve as a good reminder of why large 18-wheeler semi-trucks are so heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The tanker was carrying oil and other hazardous liquids, which erupted into a large fire that was intense enough to melt some areas of RTD light rail tracks near the scene.

The tanker driver suffered undisclosed injuries and was taken to nearby hospital for treatment. Fortunately, emergency crews got the flames under control before they could spread beyond the immediate scene. 

What went wrong to cause the accident?

While the exact cause of the crash is still under investigation, no other cars appear to have been involved in the collision. It is easy to speculate that the trucker was forced to bring his truck to an emergency stop while traveling highway speeds. The sheer size and weight of a fully-loaded tanker truck makes the physics of stopping dangerous for other vehicles sharing the nearby road. In this case, both North and Southbound directions of I-25 were closed.

Chemicals and smoke

As the fire raged, black smoke could be seen billowing into the sky from many miles away, choking the local area with noxious fumes. While no injuries from the fire or smoke have been reported, fires from tanker spills have frequently resulted in evacuations from nearby homes and businesses.

Truck drivers and truck companies may be held liable

While the exact cause of the tanker truck accident has yet to be reported, liability for damages may fall on the injured truck driver, if it can be demonstrated that he was not following precise regulations. In the event injuries had occurred to other drivers on the road, the truck company may also face liability for damages, if the accident was the result of faulty equipment or breaking FMCSA regulations regarding driver training and vehicle maintenance.   

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