While a typical truck accident can be catastrophic, it usually only impacts the at-fault driver and the one or several other cars involved. When a truck carrying hazardous materials crashes, everyone in the vicinity could be at risk for injury or death. These crashes have been known to shut down entire highways and, depending on the materials spilled, cause devastating fires and explosions.
Hazmat Trucks Have Increased Regulations
Considering the dangerous cargo hazmat trucks carry, these trucks are heavily regulated by local, state, and federal agencies. These agencies lay out specific guidelines truck drivers and their employers must follow to ensure the safe transportation of hazardous materials.
Anyone who violates these regulations and causes injury or death could be liable for any damages. The most common hazmat truck violations include the following:
- Package not secure in vehicle
- No copy of US DOT Hazardous Materials Registration Number
- No or improper shipping papers
- Shipping paper accessibility
- No placards/markings when required
Aside from these common violations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires hazmat truck drivers to have a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit before they can haul this type of cargo.
Why Are Hazmat Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
Even if you weren’t directly hit by a hazmat truck, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Hazmat truck accidents are dangerous for the following reasons:
They Carry Various Types of Hazardous Materials
One of the main reasons hazmat truck accidents are so devastating is the fact that they carry several types of dangerous materials that could severely harm everyone nearby. There are nine classes of hazardous materials, and they include the following:
- Class 1: Explosives
- Class 2: Gases
- Class 3: Flammable Liquid and Combustible Liquid
- Class 4: Flammable Solid, Spontaneously Combustible, and Dangerous When Wet
- Class 5: Oxidizer and Organic Peroxide
- Class 6: Poison (Toxic) and Poison Inhalation Hazard
- Class 7: Radioactive
- Class 8: Corrosive
- Class 9: Miscellaneous
They Cause More Severe Injuries
In addition to the many injuries you could suffer during a typical truck accident, hazmat truck crashes could harm you in other ways. For example, a hazmat truck crash could spill toxic chemicals that could damage an individual’s respiratory system if inhaled.
Corrosive materials could cause significant burns and lifelong damage if they come into contact with your skin or eyes. It’s also worth noting that many hazmat truck accidents could be fatal. Fires and explosions could result in the untimely death of a loved one.
They Cause Rollover Accidents Due to Sloshing
Hazmat trucks usually carry liquid cargo in a long steel tube, unlike regular tractor-trailers. Liquid cargo is much more unstable than solid cargo that’s securely tied down in rectangular containers.
That’s why it’s essential to have an experienced truck driver who knows how to avoid sloshing, the back-and-forth movement of liquid material.
If truckers drive erratically and make sharp turns at high speeds, the vehicle’s weight could shift to one side and result in a rollover accident. When a truck rolls over, hazardous materials could spill onto the highway and put everyone at risk.
They Impact Everyone in the Surrounding Area
As stated above, hazmat truck accidents contain various types of toxins, flammable substances, and corrosive materials that could increase the severity of a crash. The impact of these hazardous materials has the potential to extend beyond the individuals directly involved in the accident.
Other cars not involved in the initial crash could experience burns from chemical spills or fires that break out afterward. If toxins are released into the atmosphere, individuals in nearby areas could experience respiratory issues or other serious injuries.
Call Oronoz & Ericsson, LLC Today
When you’re involved in a hazardous truck accident, you could suffer severe injuries that could leave you maimed and disfigured for life. Additionally, you could experience significant pain and mental trauma due to your accident.
The lawyers at Oronoz & Ericsson, LLC know how complex truck accident claims can be and can help you recover the compensation you need to cover your expenses. Contact us today at (702) 935-1762 to schedule your free consultation.