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Hazardous to your health: Hazmat carriers

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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We have written here on our North Carolina law blog about the dangers posed to the average Charlotte motorist by large commercial vehicles. Tractor-trailers are long, heavy, slow to stop and difficult to maneuver. Commercial truck crashes often have dire results for those in passenger vehicles: catastrophic injuries and death are far too common.

When the big rigs are hauling hazardous materials, the radius of danger can extend far beyond the vehicles in the truck’s immediate vicinity. Hazmat crashes can put entire communities at risk of exposure to toxic chemicals, fumes, contaminants, explosions, fire and more.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that about 200 Hazmat vehicles are in fatal crashes every year. There are also an additional 5,000 Hazmat carrier accidents that are nonfatal.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that property damage from the crashes totals in the tens of millions of dollars per year. In 2015, total damage exceeded $100 million.

Hazmat carriers transport a wide variety of materials that includes the following:

  • Gasoline
  • Other petroleum products such as oil, LPG and industrial solvents
  • Compressed gases (hydrogen, oxygen, etc.)
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Nuclear fuel, radioactive materials and nuclear waste
  • Chlorine
  • Hazardous waste materials

Just as ordinary 18-wheeler wrecks occur, Hazmat crashes can involve distracted drivers, fatigued truckers, speed, mechanical failure, alcohol or drug impairment and other factors.

If you or a loved one has been harmed in a commercial truck accident, you can speak with an attorney experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation and dedicated to justice and full compensation for all damages.