Trucking companies play a significant role in our economy. It is undeniable that some businesses cannot function devoid of them. However, truck accidents are, by far, the most fatal types of crashes. The sheer size of a truck, coupled with the weight of its load leaves no chance for an accident victim to walk out unscathed.
When hazardous materials (HazMat) are introduced in the picture, the results of an accident are catastrophic.
Unlike physical and tangible cargo, liquid and gaseous products have to be transported in a tanker. Hazardous materials refer to any substance that poses a threat to the environment and its many forms of life, including human beings. They are either toxic, corrosive, radioactive, explosive, or flammable.
Traffic authorities understand the many risks posed by trucks transporting HazMat and thus, have outlined rules and regulations that aim at minimizing such accidents.
Industry Laws For HazMat Trucks
Trucking companies that transport hazardous materials have to comply with industry regulations, including the following:
- There are only specific highways where HazMat material can be transported through.
- Some materials cannot be transported through certain areas due to population density.
- There are specific times of the day that some HazMat can be transported.
- The tanker truck driver should have additional training and certification that is specific to HazMat trucks.
- The law has set a minimum amount of insurance coverage that trucking companies involved in the transportation of these materials should purchase.
- Tanker trucks with hazardous material should have a clear warning label that it is “HazMat.”
- HazMat truck drivers should also have their fingerprints collected and state of citizenship or immigration eligibility verified.
Why HazMat Truck Accidents Can Be Extremely Dangerous
HazMat trucks are more prone to accidents than normal trucks. Liquid and gaseous substances can easily slosh as the vehicle moves, changing the truck’s center of gravity.
This is dangerous, especially if the driver is navigating a corner. Other major factors that make HazMat accidents extremely dangerous can include the following:
Injures A Lot of People Over A Wide Area
HazMat trucks transport all sorts of hazardous materials with their effects ranging from minor to long-term catastrophes. If such a vehicle gets into an accident, its contents are likely to spill over a wide area.
Goods such as radioactive materials spread over a wide area and in a few seconds, implying a fatal outcome. For example, a truck ferrying thousands of gallons of butyl acrylate forced the evacuation of several homes after it overturned in Kentucky.
A Multitude Of Additional Injuries
Any truck-related accident can be fatal and cause injuries such as broken bones, brain damage, spinal injuries, and so on. HazMat trucks can cause similar injuries plus a whole lot more.
Additional incidents can be poisoning, radiation, chemical burns, explosions, and fires.
It Can Cause A Chain Reaction
Typically, materials transported by HazMat trucks are wet or slippery. If a truck spills its contents on the road, the outcome can have far-reaching effects on other road users.
Unaware drivers can easily skid and lose control of their vehicles while hydroplaning.
What To Do If You Are Injured In A HazMat Truck Accident
If you are involved in a HazMat truck accident, it is unlikely that you will leave the scene without an injury, and neither will other people. Trucking companies know the outcome of such accidents as victims are bound to claim compensation.
To this end, they are always prepared with fierce insurance companies whose aim is to absolve the companies or drivers of any fault. Similarly, you should have an aggressive truck accident lawyer to fight for your rights. An attorney will ensure that you do not incur the damages of the injuries alone, and see that you are rightfully compensated.