Trucking is a tough job and is a danger for everyone on the road when a driver isn’t properly trained, or a trucking company doesn’t care enough to abide by company safety rules and regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Many people just assume that drivers take it upon themselves to break law, when some trucking companies instill a dangerous culture in the first place.
Most of the dangers associated with truck driving don’t become known to the general public until there’s been a catastrophic truck accident splashed all over the news. It leaves you wondering how some drivers were permitted to get behind the wheel, and usually there’s plenty of blame to go around. Stop to consider the blame trucking companies should take responsibility for when they don’t properly oversee their operations, or they intentionally break the rules in the name of profits.
What’s in the back of that truck?
Hazardous materials are carried all over the country every day by commercial trucks and drivers who haul materials that they may not even have proper permits or licensing to carry on board. As of 2016, hazardous materials were present on 6% of trucks involved in crashes. Of these accidents, 60% involved flammable liquids such as gasoline and oil.
Because of the added risk of danger in transporting hazardous materials, it’s imperative that drivers receive proper training to drive these chemicals around. In addition to the every day safety risks associated with truck drivers causing accidents, adding deadly cargo to the mix can have deadly consequences. When a hazardous materials truck crashes, it has the potential to harm more than just the victims directly associated with the crash.
Spills and leaks of certain chemicals can risk the lives of others in the area just due to their proximity to the accident. Evacuations sometimes are required within a certain radius of the leak or spill because exposure to certain chemicals could lead to serious illness or death pretty hastily.
Special training and licensing is required for hazardous materials drivers
Many hazardous materials being transported by truck require special warning placards places on all four sides of a truck stating what is being carried on board. Truck drivers holding an ordinary commercial driver’s license (CDL) are allowed to transport hazardous materials that don’t require placards. If placards are required, only a driver whose license contains a specific Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) may drive the truck.
Training requires passing an additional written exam for each category of hazardous materials a driver intends to carry whether it’s regular old propane, or the anthrax virus. Failure to attach placards to vehicles requiring them risks the safety of anyone in the vicinity of a truck accident with that vehicle. Other drivers involved, or even first responders who arrive on the scene won’t have warning that they could be exposed to deadly materials.
Unfortunately, there are always glitches in any system, including the dangerous field of transporting hazardous materials. If a truck driver is not made aware of the contents of the load he or she is picking up, there’s a risk involved that the driver won’t even know that deadly chemicals or explosive materials are on board. This driver may not have the proper license endorsement, and may not know to take additional safety precautions that could prevent a catastrophic incident specifically due to the type of cargo being moved.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a truck accident either through a direct collision or from the effects of exposure to hazardous materials carried on board, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. To protect your rights under the law and to understand what you may be entitled to, speak with the dauntless Alabama truck accident attorneys at Mezrano Law Firm. We understand the pain that you are going through and the long road to recovery that you will need to travel.
To see how we can help you stand up to the trucking company, call 205-206-6300 to schedule your free case evaluation, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page. We take pride in serving the citizens of the State of Alabama with offices located in Birmingham, Mobile, Florence, Tuscaloosa, Gadsden, and Montgomery for your convenience.