Any high-speed car accident has the potential for injury, or even death. Accidents involving huge tractor trailers have an added layer of danger that stems from the sheer size and weight of the vehicle. When the spillage of a truck’s cargo is considered, the potential danger grows, especially if the materials being transported are hazardous.
Examples of Hazardous Cargo
Hazardous cargo is transported on the country’s roadways every day. It is uncomfortable to consider how often we come to flammable liquids, noxious chemical gases, toxic waste products, and other dangerous substances. Common hazardous materials include:
- Gasoline, oils, and other fuels
- Explosives, firearms, and ammunition
- Propane, helium, and other flammable gases used in industries
- Compressed gas
- Infectious waste
- Radioactive or corrosive substances
When a tanker containing these materials is compromised in an accident, these unsafe substances can be released into the air or roadways, complicating an already-perilous accident scene and putting people in additional danger.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry. In addition to overseeing that only certified truck drivers operate these enormous vehicles, the FMCSA sets forth safety procedures for transportation professionals to follow throughout the industry. The trucks themselves must be manufactured and maintained in accordance with regulations established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Individual states often have additional requirements for truckers to follow, particularly for transporting hazardous materials. For example, some states require security clearances for those transporting materials in certain classifications.
Rules and Protocols
In addition to common driving-safety laws forbidding speeding, texting while driving, or driving while intoxicated, the truck drivers must comply with the Hours of Service rule, which is intended to address the problem of drowsy driving. Load size and weight limits are instituted for safety. Trucks containing hazardous materials must display placards that indicate that the cargo is hazardous.
Who is Responsible in an Accident?
The driver may be the only representative in the transportation chain personally on the scene when an accident occurs, but there are many other individuals and entities involved in the transportation of any cargo on our roadways that may bear some responsibility for the accident. Each has a role to play in seeing that the materials safely reach their destination without incident.
While driver errors account for some portion of the missteps that cause hundreds of thousands of trucking accidents each year, in many cases, other parties may be held liable for an accident, such as the truck’s manufacturer, the vehicle’s maintenance team, the trucking company, the cargo-loading company, or the company that contracted the truckers to transport dangerous cargo.
Virginia Beach Truck Accident Lawyers Help Victims of Hazardous Truck Accidents
If you were involved in a truck accident, the Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers have experience litigating cases against defendants in all areas of the trucking industry. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we can help you determine who was at fault for your accident and use the law to hold them accountable for your pain and suffering. Call us at 757-352-2237 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we represent clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk.