Truck drivers are generally more regulated than regular drivers because truck accidents tend to be more serious. Despite the strict regulations, very deadly accidents still happen, putting drivers in passenger vehicles in grave danger.
The pressing question here is why truck accidents are more dangerous, especially to passenger vehicles. Trucks are much heavier and larger than passenger cars; the latter is in bigger trouble if a collision occurs. Also, these trucks usually transport hazardous materials, and accidents can result in hazardous spills and explosions, to name a few possibilities.
Despite the strict regulation of the trucking industry, trucks carrying hazardous materials still get involved in accidents. This is sometimes because some truck drivers do not take the regulations as seriously as you would expect. For instance, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted over 170,000 inspections in 2022 and found more than 39,000 violations.
Hazardous material (hazmat) trucking accidents are very damaging and sometimes unavoidable. Below are some of the reasons for these trucking accidents:
Truck drivers and those tasked with loading and unloading hazardous materials must undergo special training. This training must be completed before they can begin handling or transporting hazardous material. However, you can find inexperienced or improperly trained truck drivers at the wheel, which rarely yields good results.
Hazmat accidents also happen because drivers are not paying optimal attention to the road or their driving. Sometimes, truck accidents happen because the driver is tired and dozed off behind the wheel. Other examples of driver error resulting in hazmat accidents include excessive speed, drunk driving, and distracted driving.
Accidents often happen because uninspected and improperly maintained trucks can ply the road. Anything can happen with these trucks, from hazardous material leaks to failure of other truck components, thus resulting in an accident.
If the hazardous materials on the truck are not properly secured, there is a high risk of shifting during transport. The results include spills, accidents, or explosions, usually in no small measure.
According to federal regulations, trucks transporting hazardous material must have a placard on the truck indicating what material is being hauled. The FMCSA tags proper categorization of the type of hazardous materials as a very important responsibility of the trucking industry.
Furthermore, trucking companies that deal with hazardous transport cargo must adequately and thoroughly train employees on handling hazardous materials. They must also be trained to load and unload the cargo properly, ensuring it is well secured.
Additionally, hazardous material truck drivers must have a special hazmat designation on their commercial driver’s license (CDL). Someone with this designation is competent enough to drive trucks with hazardous materials. That is because the driver must have undergone a medical examination and fingerprinted background check to get the designation.
When hazardous material trucking accidents occur, they are usually more serious, and passenger cars are at higher risk. If you were injured in an accident with a truck transporting hazardous cargo, you should reach out to a truck accident lawyer immediately.
“An attorney can be a great help because truck companies have insurance companies that help them pay very little for damages, regardless of the accident’s cause,” advises attorney Russell Berkowitz of Berkowitz Hanna Malpractice & Injury Lawyers. With an experienced truck accident attorney, you have someone who will fight for your rights and help claim what is yours.