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At Lapeze & Johns, we know that a good deal of the tension of being on the road comes from those we have to share the road with. Whether they are driving too fast or too slow, there are plenty of drivers who put us on edge and at risk.

No other vehicles enhance this sense of dread quite like commercial trucks. Their sheer size and weight create the opportunity for things to quickly become dangerous. In extreme cases, their destructive reach extends even beyond the confines of the road.

For instance, just last month, a truck carrying a load of Takata Corp. products exploded in Quemado, a small town along the border located about 150 miles west of San Antonio.

Takata Corp. specializes in manufacturing and distributing airbags but has faced numerous lawsuits in recent years related to issues with their products. The truck was en route to a facility on the Mexican side of the border.

The Aftermath

The cargo included a deadly mix of the inflators for the company’s airbags and a dangerous chemical known as ammonium nitrate, which is used to create explosions that inflate the airbags.

The problem is that the compound is known to break down when exposed to heat for extended periods of time, making for unstable situations during transportation. When these airbags in an accident, they can rip apart metal components in the vehicle and send shrapnel in the direction of passengers. Shockingly, this can occur with a single airbag.

An entire load of these can cause excessive amounts of damage, as witnessed in this accident. Predictably, the area affected by the explosion extended far beyond the semi-truck.

The explosion sent debris as far away as two miles from the site of the crash. The worst of the damage happened to the home of a local resident. The accident left the victim’s house completely leveled and also claimed her life. The devastation was so complete that the local sheriff’s office had to use dental records to positively identify the remains of the 69-year-old Quemado resident.

A crater was left at the crash site and there was extensive damage to the road. Four other individuals were also injured in the explosion, which was investigated by the coordinated efforts of the local sheriff’s office and Takata officials.

The company claimed that the transportation of its products complies with all regulations put in place by the government and that they closely monitor the logistics with careful procedures.

Regardless of the procedures in place when transporting any volatile products, the fact remains that they still carry a high degree of danger. It is almost impossible to know exactly what any given commercial truck is hauling, but you must always be on the alert and drive defensively.

At Lapeze & Johns, it is our hope that in these unfortunate situations, no one is hurt. But should you or someone you know be seriously injured or killed in one of these accidents, contact our Houston attorneys today at 713.739.1010.

We’ll make sure that the guilty party is held responsible and that you don’t have to carry the burden of recovery alone.