Truck Accidents And HAZMAT Carriers

According to Department of Transportation statistics, 200 of the 5,000 fatal truck accidents that occur on average each year in the United States involve HAZMAT carriers. Each day there are more than 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials in trucks, materials such as gasoline or flammable gas. The potential for human injury and property damage are much greater when dealing with accidents of this caliber. The possible long-standing effects, and extensive clean-up of the site, can be much greater than in non-HAZMAT vehicle crashes.

What Are HAZMAT Carriers?

HAZMAT carriers are those carriers that carry any kind of hazardous (HAZ) materials (MAT). Examples of hazardous materials include, but are not limited to:

Flammable oils, petrol, and petroleum products
Gasoline
Compressed gases such as compressed hydrogen gas, compressed oxygen cylinders, etc.
Radioactive materials such as spent nuclear fuel
Chemical gases and liquids
Inflammable hazardous waste products
In effect, any kind of solid, liquid, or gas, which is flammable, or which can cause chemical burns or radiation, come under the category of hazardous materials.

Any kind of traffic accident can be very dangerous and have tragic consequences, but if the accident involves a heavy truck, then the result can be even more devastating. Due to the sheer size and weight of big trucks, truck accidents are typically more disastrous than accidents involving smaller vehicles, especially when carrying hazardous materials

If a HAZMAT carrier gets into an accident with another vehicle, and you are lucky enough to survive the crash, then you have the added worry of having to deal with the hazardous materials. Should there be a spill of the contents of the truck, there can be a fire or an explosion, leading to fatalities.

Truck accidents involving HAZMAT carriers can even affect those who are in the vicinity of the accident site, but not directly involved in the accident. If a HAZMAT carrier is transporting some kind of radioactive materials, and the truck gets into an accident, there is a danger of the radioactive material leaking out from the containers and causing harmful radiation. This radiation can cause serious injuries and health problems in people who are within miles of the accident site and who get exposed to the radiations.

Minimizing Accidents of HAZMAT Carriers

As per a brief released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are about 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials that occur every day. The trucking industry sees an average of about 400,000 truck accidents annually that result in injuries but not in deaths. Of these, only 5,000 are fatal. Of the 5,000 fatal truck accidents that take place each year in the United States, 200 of these fatalities can be attributed to hazardous material carriers.

There is a very immediate need to minimize these types of accidents. Although such accidents may occur less often than non-HAZMAT carrier accidents, when such an accident does occur, the consequences are far more dangerous and tragic than when compared to those involving non-HAZMAT carriers.

Legal Aspects

HAZMAT companies operate their business to attain the maximum profit, and unfortunately, some of these companies save money by not completely meeting the required standards regarding maintenance and safety precautions. These short cuts can result in not only the injury of the employee but in danger to the general public as well.

Anyone who has been injured due to a truck accident involving a HAZMAT carrier, or who has been injured due to any spills of HAZMAT goods, may be entitled to receive compensation for their injuries. Consulting an attorney who is an expert in truck accidents will maximize the changes of receiving monetary damages.

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