Tragic deaths from a collision with a truck often involve a sudden impact that causes fatal injury. The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported that in November 2019, a multi-vehicle accident involving two 18-wheeler trucks killed two individuals because of blunt force trauma. However, a third individual died from a different cause, from smoke inhalation.
In this particular case, one of the trucks was carrying liquefied petroleum gas which exploded in the accident. However, a truck does not have to carry a large tanker of gas to cause a fire. Any big truck carries its own fuel supply which could spill out and cause a fire in a collision. WebMD runs down some of the health dangers posed by smoke inhalation.
Smoke inhalation harms breathing
The primary danger of inhaling too much smoke is that it can cut off oxygen supply. Sometimes the combustion itself will consume all the available oxygen around a person. Someone who becomes trapped in a burning vehicle could end up with no oxygen to breathe and suffer death by asphyxiation.
Smoke inhalation can cause harm in other ways. The smoke may contain irritants that collapse the airways of a person or cause internal swelling that blocks the flow of air. Heat carried by the smoke could burn the throat or the esophagus. Smoke can also carry carbon monoxide, an odorless gas which interferes with the ability of the body to deliver oxygen and can cause death.
Health complications from smoke inhalation
Even if a person survives a truck vehicle crash and receives immediate assistance, smoke inhalation may still create health problems that manifest later. A crash survivor could experience all sorts of symptoms. Many involve breathing issues like coughing, shortness of breath and noisy breathing.
Some collision survivors experience problems that do not involve breathing. Skin may change color in spots, manifesting red, blue or pale tones. Headaches, fainting spells and seizures could occur. Some symptoms, like nausea and vomiting, might indicate carbon monoxide poisoning. These symptoms may signify a serious health problem that requires medical attention as soon as possible.