Every truck accident is a dangerous accident, and tanker truck accidents are no exception. Indeed, tanker trucks are associated with some of the deadliest accidents on our highways. Tanker trucks often ferry extremely dangerous liquids that—when the trucks are involved in accidents—pose an extreme threat to everyone on the road. These dangers can include fires, violent explosions, and chemical leaks. Tanker trucks are responsible for moving highly volatile, hazardous materials over our roads, and when they’re involved in accidents, the results can prove especially horrific.
While not all tanker trucks haul hazardous materials—some, for instance, haul food products like milk—many do. Tankers haul substances that can turn into extremely dangerous hazards when they’re involved in accidents on our roads:
- Diesel fuels
- Petroleum-based products
- Industrial chemicals
- Agricultural pesticides
- Radioactive materials
None of these products represent anything that we’d want spilling across our nation’s roadways.
Tanker truck accidents are exceedingly dangerous accidents, and if you or your loved one was injured in such an accident, you need experienced legal counsel. At the Law Office of William W. Hurst in Indianapolis, our dedicated truck accident attorneys have the experience and fortitude to guide your claim toward its just resolution, and we’re here to help.
Risks of Tanker Trucks
When a tanker truck is involved in an accident, the community in which the accident takes place must swiftly dispatch emergency hazardous material teams to cope with the dangerous spills. While tanker truck accidents are typically caused by the same driver errors that result in other kinds of truck accidents, important elements of these accidents are highly specific to tanker trucks:
- Fires – When a tanker truck is involved in an accident, the likelihood of a fire greatly increases due to the highly combustible nature of its load. The victims of such accidents can suffer horrendous burns and worse.
- Explosions – Tanker truck accidents can also result in violent explosions, in which case fatalities are nearly inevitable.
- Chemical leaks and spills – When a tanker truck is involved in an accident, there’s always a risk that its hazardous load will leak or spill out. Even if the accident involves no impact with other vehicles, the spill can prove dangerous in and of itself—especially if drivers must weave around the road to avoid driving through the spill. In addition, if dangerous fumes are released, it endangers not only motorists on the road but also nearby residents and businesses. Manufacturing defects and inadequate maintenance (such as an improperly closed tank) can contribute to dangerous leaks and spills.
- Sloshing contents – When a tanker truck isn’t fully loaded, the liquid inside the tank can slosh around, which can lead to dangerous shifts in weight that can cause the driver to lose control of the truck.
- Chemical burns – Depending on the tanker’s contents, chemical burns that result in painful disfigurement and scars are possible consequences of tanker truck accidents.
- Tanker truck rollovers – Tanker trucks—because of their liquid cargos—are more susceptible to the weight fluctuations and shifts that can lead to rollovers. And their highly hazardous loads make such accidents even more deadly.
Semi-Truck Crash Statistics
Commercial trucks, including tanker trucks, are out there for a reason—to keep up with growing consumer demands. As more of these vehicles hit the road, accident statistics attest to the attendant dangers:
- Nearly 4,000 persons died in commercial truck accidents in 2015
- Of these accidents, 97 percent of the fatalities were occupants of the vehicle that wasn’t the commercial truck
- From 2009 to 2015, the number of truck accident fatalities increased by 22 percent
- Eleven percent of all traffic fatalities in 2015 involved commercial trucks
These numbers are sobering and should serve as an important reminder to all drivers to allow commercial trucks the room they need to maneuver safely on the roads we all share.
While all commercial truckers are held to federal regulations that govern their safe passage across our country, tanker trucks are faced with additional federal regulations related to the hazardous materials they often transport. This includes obtaining a special endorsement on the trucker’s commercial driver’s license and obtaining a special Hazmat Safety Permit. In other words, the federal government recognizes the heightened risks posed by tanker trucks and implements specialized regulations to help minimize the danger. Tanker truck drivers are well aware of the dangers their rigs pose on our highways and byways—and when they don’t take care to uphold their significant safety responsibilities, their victims should hold them to strict liability.
Truckers are on the front line when it comes to helping to keep commercial trucks moving safely throughout the country, and this includes strictly adhering to all imposed rules and regulations and always making safe driving their top priority. There’s simply too much at stake for commercial truckers to ever engage in impaired, exhausted, or distracted driving. Truckers, however, share the responsibility for keeping the commercial trucks on our roads moving safely with other entities, including trucking companies, truck and parts manufacturers, and truck mechanics. Commercial trucks are highly calibrated machines that demand careful maintenance routines and schedules—along with well-managed driving schedules that don’t overtax the truck drivers and, thus, contribute to the endangerment of everyone on the road.
Contact Our Office to Consult an Indianapolis Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Commercial truck accidents are exceedingly dangerous, and tanker trucks can take this danger to the next level. If you or your loved one was injured (or worse) in a tanker truck accident, you need an experienced truck accident attorney to evaluate your claim and help guide it toward just resolution. The dedicated legal team at the Law Office of William W. Hurst in Indianapolis has the experience, skill, and compassion to aggressively advocate for the compensation that you need and that you deserve. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at (317) 636-0808 to schedule a free consultation today.