Generally, trucking accidents, while dangerous, only result in injuries, traffic delays, and property damage. Fatalities are thankfully less frequent. This is not the case in a recent and horrifying accident which took place in Texas.

This trucking accident did not involve a semi truck, but rather a pickup truck packed with passengers. Twenty three passengers were occupying the bed and cab of a pickup truck as they attempted to cross into the United States. They were on a back highway nearly 100 miles south of San Antonio when one of the truck’s tires shredded. The vehicle went out of control and crashed, killing fourteen of the passengers outright. Nine others remain in the hospital with varying injuries, many critical.

Tire failure is a common cause of trucking accidents, whether passenger vehicles or semi trucks and tractor trailers. Authorities in this case say it isn’t clear if the tire failure was the result of a manufacturing defect or simply that the tire was old and due for replacement. The fact that the truck was grossly overloaded undoubtedly contributed to the tire’s failure.

Authorities at the scene describe it as one of the deadliest to take place in recent history. Another horrifying scene took place in 2003 when a number of immigrants were packed into a poorly ventilated trailer. In that case, 19 people died.

This accident brings up two major issues that are frequently involved in trucking accidents. The first is the potential for neglected maintenance. Poorly maintained and infrequently replaced tires can and do fail, causing sometimes horrific accidents when they fail. The other issue is improper placement of passengers and ignorance of maximum vehicle capacities. Safety has to be the primary concern of anyone operating a truck. The consequences of ignoring these matters can become all too evident when a scene like this takes place.