Deadly GM Trucks Still On The Road After Decades Of Deaths

I saw this article (about a series of GM trucks that explode in otherwise non-fatal accidents) on and want to help spread the info. Like many folks, I had no idea these GM trucks from the 70’s and 80’s are so dangerous, especially since I still see them everywhere.

a baby blue GMC pickup truck in a parking lot

a GMC C/K pickup (pic originally from wikipedia)

Here’s the basic design flaw in a nutshell:

For marketing reasons, the trucks had an unusual design feature. GM wanted to offer 40 gallons of fuel capacity, but there was no place to mount a tank that big. So it offered twin 20 gallon tanks, each nearly 5 feet long, two explosive containers hanging like saddle bags outside the truck’s protective frame. Even after decades, that choice still resonates in the courts, in the lives of bereaved families and in the disfiguring scars of survivors.

Near the middle, the article gets more specific about fatalities:

According to a federal database, following the government’s settlement with GM the side-saddle trucks were involved in nearly 400 fatal crashes with post-collision fires through 2008. However, the database, known as the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, attributed most deaths to the force of the collision and only 97 to explosions or fires.

Although autopsy reports provide the most authoritative information on cause of death, they rarely figure in FARS. Deaths by fire might be wrongly coded as caused by the impact or vice-versa. When NHTSA compared FARS codings of C/K pickup deaths with autopsies in 1994, it found that fire deaths were incorrectly attributed to crash forces more often than the other way around.

Accordingly, the estimate of at least 100 fire deaths since December 1994 seems conservative. It includes the 97 cases coded in FARS, along with 10 additional fatalities in which autopsies, police reports or witness statements reviewed by FairWarning indicated that victims survived the crash then died in the flames.

Read the full story @ “Old Trucks Leave Fiery Legacy, Smoldering Anger” on

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