An accident involving a tractor trailer truck is always serious, they are the largest and heaviest vehicles on our roads. Even single vehicle accidents involving just the truck can be deadly for the driver. One of the reasons that trucks are so dangerous are post accident fires caused by leaking fuel tanks.
Truck drivers are 16 x more likely to die in a vehicle fire after an accident than drivers of cars. This is because big rig fuel tanks are not covered by the same stringent design and manufacturing regulations as are personal vehicles. Problems with tractor trailer fuel tank design include: thin walled large fuel tanks; aluminum tanks, placed in unguarded areas of the truck;, and no redundancy equipment in place to prevent fuel spills after an accident.
The bottom line; however, is that if a truck driver survives the initial crash he or she should not be killed in an ensuing fire. This also has an effect on public safety as cars in accidents with tractor trailers frequently end up underneath them or nearby them and those drivers/passengers can be injured or killed in truck fires or explosions as well.
The industry could take some simple measures such as reinforcing the fuel tank, placing the fuel tanks between the vehicle frame rails, and implement features to prevent fuel spillage.