Trucks that transport hazardous materials, commonly referred to as “hazmats,” are required to carry a higher amount of liability insurance than other trucks. This is because there are few things on the road more dangerous than a hazmat truck. Wrecks with hazmat trucks can result in dangerous explosions and grave injuries.
When it comes to regulating hazmats, the federal government has identified nine specific classes of hazardous materials. Trucks that transport these materials are required to have special permits, and they must be clearly marked according to what kind of hazardous substance is being transported. The nine different classes include: explosives, gases, flammable and combustible liquids, flammable solids, oxidizer and organic peroxide, poison and poison inhalation hazards, radioactive materials, corrosive materials, and “miscellaneous” hazmats.
When a passenger vehicle collides with a hazmat truck, not only can the truck catch fire or explode, but various types of other injuries can occur, including:
- Thermal burns
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of vision
- Chemical burns
- Long-term exposure injuries
- Exposure to cancer causing chemicals
- Corrosive burn injuries
- Leaching of chemicals into local water supply
Rules and Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates carriers of hazmats. Trucking companies are required to comply with these regulations, but unfortunately, they do not always comply with these rules. The FMCSA also inspects vehicles that transport these substances, provides education to truckers and their employers, and is also involved with enforcement of regulatory violations. Across the country, approximately four percent of all commercial trucks carrying hazardous materials failed roadside inspections and were immediately taken out of service.
Some of the most common violations include:
- Improper securing of hazmats. This is a very dangerous violation because hazardous substances can shift and move around en route, increasing the chance of a dangerous explosion. Sometimes, an improperly secured vat of hazardous materials can roll off of a truck and spill onto the roadway or strike another car on the road.
- Failure to properly label the vehicle. Trucks that transport hazmats are required to place a warning placard in a visible location, indicating the specific type of material that is being transported. There are some exceptions to this rule.
- Driver mistake. Truck drivers who transport hazardous materials bear much of the responsibility for ensuring that their cargo is safely transported. Truck drivers who speed, follow too closely behind another vehicle, disregard traffic signs or signals, and drive while intoxicated, fatigued, or distracted, can all cause hazardous materials to spill.
York County Truck Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Victims Injured by Commercial Trucks
After a hazmat accident, it is imperative to call the appropriate authorities immediately, including police and medical responders as necessary. After seeking medical care, contact an experienced truck accident lawyer in York County. At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A., we will fight for your rights and help you obtain the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries. To learn more, call us today at 803-929-3600 or contact us online. We provide free, no obligation initial consultations and serve residents of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.
With six office locations in South Carolina, we represent clients in the communities of Columbia, Alken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina.