Compartmentalizing tanker truck safety design: Minimizing the potential for fires from collisions

Academic Article


  • For this research, we collected data on Alabama accident rates and experimentation on different types of dry foams and heavy inert gases being exposed to fire. We sought to determine what type of techniques should be used to puncture the truck-similar materials to simulate collisions and to construct a prototype (mock tanker truck). According to Alabama accident data, a total of 2258 accidents involving heavy transport trucks carrying hazardous cargo have occurred in the state during the past five years. Of these accidents, 202 involved overturning of the vehicle with 33 resulting in fires or explosions, five resulting in spills of hazardous materials, and 91 cases of hazardous cargo becoming separated from the truck. It can be noted that this five-year period encompasses 1825 days, thus leading to the conclusion that an accident involving hazardous materials occurs on the Alabama highways at the rate of more than one per day. Approximately once every two months a tanker accident occurs that results in a fire or explosion. One notable tanker truck accident (January 5, 2002) on I-65 near the I-20/59 interchange resulted in the collapse of the bridge. Removal of the bridge cost more that $1 million and replacement of the bridge ∼$3 million. Prevention of such fires to tankers as a result of a collision may result in considerable cost savings.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Author List

  • Pearson DF; Peters RW
  • Volume

  • 15
  • Issue

  • 3 SUPPL. 4