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Truck Accidents and Hazardous Spills

Florida roads have numerous trucks delivering materials and goods hourly. Although the state heavily regulates truckers and ensures higher safety procedures, deadly truck accidents still occur. Road defects, driver inexperience, and overloading contribute to a trucking mishap.

Truck accidents are often hazardous to motorists in passenger vehicles because of these factors:

Weight and Size: Trucks are heavier and more significant than passenger vehicles, making passengers in such vehicles highly vulnerable in a crash.

Hazardous Cargo: Based on what a truck is transporting, collisions with passenger vehicles can cause hazardous spills, explosions, and fire.

Types of Hazardous Materials That Truckers Transport

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), hazardous substances can pose a dangerous risk to the health and safety of individuals in a given place. The following are categories of dangerous substances:

Explosives: Other factors to further categorize explosives include their sensitivity and danger level. Popular explosives are gunpowder, fireworks, and dynamite.

Gasses: The three sub-categories are poisonous, flammable, and non-inflammable.

Toxic Substances: They can either be solid or liquid materials known to be dangerous to humans through dermal, inhaled, or oral exposure.

Flammable and Combustible Liquids: These liquids contain temperature or a flash point where a nearby ignition source may ignite vapors 140°F or below. Examples of these liquids are acetone, gasoline, and ethanol.

Flammable Solid: Broken down by spontaneously combustible, hazardous when moist, and explosive solid components. Instances of each sub-category include oily rags, matches, and magnesium fire starters.

Organic and Oxidizer Peroxide: These hazardous materials also lead to the explosion of other substances. Examples of oxidizers include silver nitrate and concentrated hydrogen peroxide. Organic peroxides have an oxidizer and organic fuel. They can release threatening energy and heat due to their thermal instability.

Corrosive: Bases (high pH) and acids (low pH) are corrosive substances that eat away at various surfaces, including steel and skin. Sources of corrosive materials are degreasers and battery acid.

Radioactive: Uranium and plutonium are common radioactive materials. However, smoke detectors and x-ray equipment are commonplace items in our lives that may contain unidentified radioactive materials.

Miscellaneous: Miscellaneous items, also called "class 9," are hazardous during transportation, but we cannot directly classify them as part of the primary dangerous materials. However, we mention them because of their hazardous nature in transit. Examples are Formalin sample containers and different liquids.

Marking Trucks Transporting Hazardous Items

Federal authorities mandate trucks carrying hazardous materials to place a placard on their vehicle, signaling the kind of substance in haulage. The FMSCA asserts that one of the most crucial duties of a trucking firm is to properly categorize the type of hazardous item their vehicle is hauling. Further, carriers should properly train their workers to handle dangerous substances, load and offload the items, and ensure their safety.

Also, drivers transporting harmful substances must possess a unique HazMat designation on their commercial driver’s license (CDL). Concerned drivers must undergo a fingerprinted background check and medical examination to acquire the HazMat designation.

Reasons for Hazardous Material Trucking Crashes

Despite the heavy regulation of the trucking industry, numerous truck accidents still occur. In 2022 alone, the FMSCA unraveled 39,000 breaches in 170,000 inspections. Mishaps with trucks hauling harmful substances are often dangerous.

The Causes of Trucking Accidents Include:

Poor Truck Inspection and Maintenance: Uninspected or improperly maintained trucks can lead to many ugly scenarios, such as component failures and hazardous substance leaks which can cause a crash.

Driver Error: Driving during impairment, overspeeding, fatigue, and distracted driving are instances of driver error that can lead to a mishap.

Improper Securing of Hazardous Substances: Improperly secured substances might shift during transit which can propel explosions, crashes, or spills.

Improperly Trained/Inexperienced Drivers: No driver or individual loading or offloading hazardous substances should work without completing specified specialized training. Unfortunately, many people compromise the process, leading to a devastating outcome.

Are You in an Accident with a Truck Hauling Hazardous Substances?

“You need a reputable attorney if you are a truck accident victim. Many trucking firms engage insurance companies to minimize their damages drastically, no matter the circumstances surrounding the crash. Hence, proceeding in such a case will be a significant error without a proven lawyer.” says attorney Felix Gonzalez of  Felix Gonzalez Accident and Injury Law Firm.

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