Every day in the US, there are more than 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials (hazmat) by trucks, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Due to the explosive, poisonous and radioactive nature of hazmat trucks, the last thing you want is to get into a wreck with one.
The hazardous materials in commercial tanker trucks and 18-wheelers can include:
- Oils and petroleum products
- Compressed gases like hydrogen gas
- Hazardous waste product
- Radioactive Materials
- Corrosive Materials
- Oxidizers and Organic Peroxides
In a nutshell, any kind of solid, liquid, or gas that can cause chemical burns, expose you to radiation or is flammable, can be placed in the "hazmat" category.
More Drilling, More Oil Trucks, More Hazmat Wrecks in Dallas-Fort Worth
Over the past few years, North Texas has seen an increase in the amount of oil drilling, which is moving closer and closer to residential areas around Grapevine, Burleson, Fort Worth and others. Most residents don't see the actual drilling, but they have noticed a spike in the number of tanker trucks in the area.
As new drilling sites crop up near our neighborhoods, so too does the potential for wrecks. Large tanker trucks are at a disadvantage for numerous reasons: they're big, bulky and hard to maneuver. They aren't made to navigate tight neighborhood roads, nor are the roads made to handle a tanker truck's weight and width. Combined, the hazard is stark.
According to TxDOT, there has been a steady increase in the number of fatal accidents involving semis. In 2012 alone, there were 2,703 “serious injury” crashes involving 18-wheelers in Texas – and an additional 389 fatal truck accidents.This increase correlates with the increased oil and gas drilling throughout the state – particularly as it pushes into residential neighborhoods.
You've Been in a Wreck with a Hazmat Truck. Now What?
If you're in a wreck with a hazmat truck, not only do you have to worry about the short term consequences and injuries, but there's an added element of future health issues caused by contact with dangerous materials.
You should know that commercial hazmat trucks in Texas MUST follow strict regulations. Federal laws tightly regulate hazmat trucks' actions, including where they can park, how their materials are secured and how often they are inspected. Unfortunately, some drivers aren't as diligent as others. If you've been injured by a hazmat truck, my advice to everyone is the same: contact an experienced 18-wheeler wreck attorney.
For more information, see What Should I Do After a Commercial Truck Wreck?
You'll be glad to know that under federal law, motor carriers transporting any kind of hazardous material must be insured to $5,000,000 (5 million). This is significantly higher than the total insurance required by non-overweight trucks that do not transport hazardous materials.
Injuries sustained from hazmat truck wrecks are no laughing matter, and a good attorney will hold the trucking company and their driver responsible for your injuries. If you've been in a wreck in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, don't hesitate to give me a call for a free consultation.
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