The Dangers of Hazardous Truck CrashesPublished: Jun 28, 2022 in Truck Accident
Commercial truck accidents are known for being some of the most devastating types of motor vehicle collisions. However, the kind of loads 18-wheelers carry could significantly impact the outcome of the accident—this is especially true for trucks carrying hazardous materials. These wrecks are extremely dangerous and lead to significant, even life-threatening, injuries.
What Hazardous Materials Could Trucks Carry?
Collisions involving tractor-trailers carrying hazardous materials have shut down entire highways. Accidents of this nature often produce catastrophic and life-threatening injuries and life-changing damages.
Some of the more common types of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) that trucks could carry include:
- Radioactive materials
- Industrial chemicals
- Diesel fuel
- Agricultural pesticides
- Household petroleum products
The Impact of HAZMAT Truck Accidents
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are more than 5,000 truck accidents involving hazardous materials annually. Although this may be minor compared to the number of commercial truck accidents that occur across the country, the issue with hazmat truck accidents is the devastation they cause.
Not only can those struck by the truck suffer devastating injuries, but passengers, witnesses, and other nearby individuals can also suffer devastating injury, illness, or death after being exposed to the hazardous materials contained within the tanker truck.
Types of Dangers Involved with Hazardous Truck Crashes
Hazardous truck accidents pose significant risks, including:
- Burns – Many hazardous materials are flammable. Tanker truck accidents can become fatal when gas, oil, or other substances catch fire.
- Contamination – When a hazmat truck rolls over, the hazardous materials in the truck’s trailer can spill and contaminate a wide area by releasing bio-hazardous materials, toxic fumes, and radioactive compounds.
- Corrosion – When caustic material containers are destroyed, the roads can be damaged, chemicals can be released, and car accident victims and bystanders can suffer severe injury or toxic reactions to chemical substances.
- Chemical leaks and spills – Trucks containing chemicals can release toxic gases when they spill onto the roadways. Accidents of this nature most frequently occur when the tanker truck’s trailer is defective or when the tanker is not closed correctly.
- Explosions – Explosions are a severe issue when commercial trucks carry hazardous materials. With explosions comes the risk of severe and catastrophic burn injuries.
What Happens When Trucks Carrying Hazardous Materials Crash?
Hazmat crashes are typically caused by sloshing—or the transfer of liquid in partially filled trucks. This forces the contents to slosh back and forth, causing rollovers and other accidents due to sudden changes in weight distribution.
A catastrophic rollover accident results in the trucks contents spilling out across a highway. This will most likely result in the highway being shut down while emergency responders clean up the spill. Additionally, when hazmat trucks release kerosene, gasoline, propane, or other flammable substances, there is an increased risk for explosions and fires.
If toxic gases are released into the air, all those involved in the collision and the cleanup could suffer neurological or respiratory issues caused by exposure to toxic gases. In some instances, when the wind causes toxic substances or gas fumes to travel long distances, even people miles away can suffer devastating illnesses related to the hazmat truck crash.
Types of Injuries Victims Experience
The types of injuries hazmat truck crash victims suffer can be life changing. It is not uncommon for survivors to suffer from:
- Extreme burn injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Nerve damage and illness caused by chemical exposure
- Loss of limbs
- Respiratory distress
- Neurological injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Organ failure
- Broken and fractured bones
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Alabama for Help Today
When your life has been devastated by a collision caused by a truck carrying hazardous materials, you could hold the liable party accountable. Recover the compensation that is rightfully yours when you reach out to an Alabama truck accident lawyer at Belt & Bruner, P.C.