Why Catastrophic Tanker Truck Crashes Are So Dangerous
While tanker trucks are smaller than some semi-trucks, they can be far more dangerous in an accident. This is because of what materials they haul—hazardous materials that are highly flammable and toxic. When a negligent truck driver driving one of these tankers causes a wreck, victims can suffer catastrophic injuries and die. Even people not involved in the crash can be injured if their home or workplace is near a tanker spill and they are exposed to harmful chemicals.
What Types of Hazardous Substances Do Tanker Trucks Carry?
Not all tanker trucks carry hazardous materials. Some carry food products, such as milk. However, the majority of tanker trucks on our congested Atlanta area roads and highways are carrying toxic substances such as these:
- Diesel fuel
- Household petroleum-based products
- Industrial chemicals
- Agricultural pesticides
- Radioactive materials
What Makes Tanker-Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
Tanker truck crashes are caused by the same types of truck driver negligent behaviors found in other truck accidents. These can include distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving, drowsy driving, and many other unsafe driving practices. However, because of the hazardous materials these trucks are transporting, accidents involving a tanker truck can be much more catastrophic than other truck accidents. Some of the additional dangers these crashes pose include:
- Fires. When a tanker truck driver gets in a crash, the likelihood of a fire is greatly increased due to the highly flammable materials the truck is carrying. Victims in passenger vehicles involved in the crash can suffer horrific burns as well as other long-term injuries.
- Explosions. An explosion is also a likely consequence of an accident caused by a tanker truck. Fatalities are sadly much more likely in these crashes due to the force of the impact and the life-threatening degree of the burns victims often suffer in an explosion.
- Sloshing. When a tanker truck is only carrying a load of three-quarters or less, the liquids inside the tank will move around or “slosh.” The sloshing can cause the truck’s weight to shift and can result in the truck driver losing control of his truck and causing an accident.
- Chemical leaks and spills. When a tanker truck gets in any kind of crash, there is always a danger that it will spill its load—in this case, hazardous materials. This can endanger nearby drivers and their passengers either with the materials themselves or in the accident that can be caused as drivers try to dodge the materials and liquids. Nearby residents and businesses can suffer injuries if toxic gases are released into the air. In addition, dangerous spills or leaks can occur when the tanker is not closed properly or there is a manufacturer or part defect in the tanker.
- Chemical burns. Victims can suffer chemical burns that can result in disfigurement, scarring, and other medical problems. If there is a radioactive spill, they could become contaminated as well.
- Rollovers. Tanker trucks are more likely to roll over in a crash given the hazardous substances they carry, the liquid nature of many substances, and the challenge of keeping a truck stable when not fully loaded. When a tanker truck rolls over, passenger vehicle victims can suffer catastrophic injuries.
What Injuries Could You Suffer in a Tanker-Truck Wreck?
Many of the injuries victims suffer in a tanker-truck wreck can be life-threatening. Some of the injuries people suffer include:
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries—including paralysis
- Crushed, broken, or fractured bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Internal organ damage
Contact Brauns Law, PC Today for Help With Your Tanker-Truck Accident Claim
As with other truck accident claims, violations of the federal regulations governing truck drivers and trucking companies could have contributed to your crash. Additional federal regulations must be complied with when hazardous materials are being transported by the tanker truck. This includes having a special endorsement on the truck driver’s commercial driver’s license and a special permit, which is sometimes called a Hazmat Safety Permit. You need an attorney who understands the federal rules that could have an impact on your case. If you were injured in an accident caused by a tanker-truck or other truck, start an online chat to schedule a free consultation with our experienced truck accident attorneys.