Dangers of HAZMAT Trucks
When a tractor trailer crashes, it can affect large numbers of people due to its size and weight. According to statistics available from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), within a calendar year, more than 4,000 people are fatally injured in large truck accidents, and more than 100,000 people are injured. When the truck that crashes is carrying hazardous materials (HAZMAT), the danger to others increases significantly.
What are Hazardous Materials?
Some of the materials transported by HAZMAT trucks include:
- Gasoline, petroleum, oil, and other flammable fuels
- Battery fluid
- Biohazard materials
- Explosives such as flares, fireworks, and ammunition
- Compressed gases
- Radioactive waste
Although HAZMAT trucks are specially designed to carry their cargo, leaks and spills can occur if the truck is involved in an accident. When this happens, the consequences can be very serious for anyone nearby. Chemicals released into the air can cause respiratory problems or neurological damage when inhaled. They can also cause burns on the skin. If the truck was carrying flammable materials, the crash can ignite the contents and cause an explosion or fire, which can injure far more people than the initial accident. Injuries from HAZMAT truck accidents can range from soft tissue injuries to spinal cord injuries.
A HAZMAT truck accident can also result in the contamination of the land and soil where the accident happened. This can affect the health of residents who live nearby. Property values may drop and the land can remain toxic for many years to come.
Causes of Truck Accidents
There are many factors that can cause a truck accident, but the most common cause of truck accidents is driver error. Common errors made by truck drivers include:
- Misjudging lane changes or overtaking another vehicle
- Distracted driving
- Substance abuse
These errors can be due to lack of experience or the result of driver fatigue from maintaining a heavy schedule. Braking systems, transmissions, and tires all endure many miles of use on a truck transporting tons of goods across the continent. Regular maintenance is key to preventing equipment failure accidents, but certain trucking companies try to cut corners where they can. Equipment failure can also be the result of a manufacturing defect.
Weather conditions can also contribute to truck accidents. A fully loaded truck can weigh 80,000 pounds, and require the length of nearly two football fields to come to a complete stop in good conditions. When driving on snow or ice, a truck may not be able to stop or perform emergency maneuvers to avoid an accident. Injuries from large truck accidents have increased over the last 10 years and on average, nearly three-quarters of injuries are to the occupants of other vehicles. Although the transportation of hazardous materials is heavily regulated, accidents still happen, and HAZMAT truck accidents are extremely dangerous.
South Jersey Truck Accident Lawyers at Williams Cedar Represent Victims of HAZMAT Truck Accidents
If you have been injured in a HAZMAT truck accident, do not delay in seeking compensation for your injuries. The South Jersey truck accident lawyers at Williams Cedar can help you recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Call 856-470-9777 today or contact us online for an initial consultation. From our offices in Haddonfield, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.