Chicago Tanker Truck Accident Lawyer
Tanker trucks are commercial vehicles that transport hazardous materials in a tank. They may also deliver toxic materials such as gasoline or other biohazardous chemicals. These tanker trucks typically carry a cylindrical cargo container instead of the rectangular cargo shells that are characteristically used for shipping or transporting traditional cargo. Tanker trucks also commonly transport fuel to gas stations and waste in septic tankers, as well as more traditional materials such as water, concrete, or other liquid or gaseous cargo. Due to the nature of their cargo, tanker trucks are also often insulated, pressurized or otherwise protected in some way.
The Ever Present Dangers of Tanker Trucks
Because of their complexity, tanker trucks inherently represent a potential threat to other motorists, the driver of the tanker truck, and to the public at large. Potential points of failure include the truck’s air brakes, the heavy or hazardous loads carried by the truck, and the containment system that keeps the truck’s biohazardous cargo in check. Serious collisions involving tanker trucks have occurred due to:
- Driver fatigue
- Reckless driving
- Poor maintenance
- Other issues that may affect how a tanker truck is operated
However, these types of trucks represent a more serious threat to those around them because the trucks are likely to be carrying hazardous material. These materials can add significantly to the injuries incurred during and accident and may well represent a threat to public safety if their contents are ruptured or cause a significant spill during an accident involving a tanker truck.
If a tanker truck’s insulated tank is breached, the following scenarios could have the potential to happen:
- Passengers in nearby cars as well as the truck driver may be exposed to dangerous and potentially fatal amounts of toxic material.
- Flammable cargo is likely to explode in the event of a collision due to exposure to a flaming engine, burning grass or even sparks that can cause a cargo tank to go up in flames or even explode.
A pressurized tank can increase the threat to other drivers because heat, pressure and momentum can combine to make an out-of-control tanker truck a virtual bomb on wheels. These types of accidents are serious enough that if a tanker truck is involved in a major accident, a city or county will immediate dispatch a team of experts in hazardous materials to attempt to mitigate the negative effects of a spill, fire or explosion.
Government Rules Regarding Tanker Trucks
Tanker trucks are heavily regulated by state and federal laws designed to mitigate the risks of major accidents. The agency that regulates tanker trucks and other commercial vehicles is The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which oversees the transport of dangerous materials including:
- Hazardous materials like compressed gas
- Toxic chemicals
- Corrosive materials
- Radioactive substances
Each material governed by this agency must be appropriately labeled, safely sealed, and secured in a manner that makes it clear the substance is potentially dangerous. Any discrepancy in these safety protocols can lead to tank explosions, leaks, or fires, even when a collision is not involved. Accidents have frequently occurred even when hazmat materials have been properly stored and labeled because of outside influences like driver fatigue, improper maintenance schedules, or overwork.
The city of Chicago and our outlying industrial districts are also home to many refineries, industrial manufacturing facilities, and research facilities in the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor along Interstate 88. That means that roads, bypasses, highways and freeways in the Chicago area and outlying Illinois counties have an abnormally high number of tanker trucks carrying dangerous cargo.
Contact a Chicago Tanker Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Semi-truck accident cases involving tanker trucks and hazardous materials are complex and can prove confusing to their victims. Proving negligence in a crash that involves a tanker truck takes an investment of time, experience and resources. If you have been injured in an accident involving a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer or another large commercial truck, the lawyers of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., can pursue the compensation you need and deserve. Call us today at (312) 236-2900.