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Recently in Montgomery County, Ala., a fiery head-on collision between an 18-wheeler
and 16-passenger van killed one Alabama Department of Corrections employee and six
applicants for prison jobs. The accident happened in a rural area near Union Springs, Ala.
A report on FoxNews.comquoted Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright, who went to the
scene, as saying, “The crash was horrendous enough, but the fire added to the tragedy.”
All seven people killed were between the ages of 18 and 45. State Trooper John Reese
told the news agency, “It was a very high-impact crash.”

According to a progress report released Dec. 31, 2007 by the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration, in 2006 there were 4,995 people killed in accidents involving
large trucks and 106,000 injured. Crashes involving large trucks, like 18-wheelers, and
smaller vehicles are usually a catastrophic event because of the weight difference and, of
course, speed is also a factor. A fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. The
average 16-passenger van weighs between 4,500-6,000 lbs. The average car weighs about
3,000 lbs.

The trucking industry plays a vital role in transporting important commodities like
construction supplies, machinery, food and other consumer goods to local markets. It also
has the huge responsibility of making sure that its drivers are operating under optimum
conditions and that their trucks are properly maintained. Given a commercial freight
vehicle’s weight and size, passengers in smaller vehicles stand just about no chance of
survival in a collision.

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