Biggest Dangers of Tank Trucks | Dreyer Boyajian LLP

Are Tanker Trucks Dangerous?

Tanker trucks should not be dangerous. Federal regulations govern the specifications, maintenance, and operation of tanker trucks. And, with today’s manufacturing technology, there is no reason for tanker trucks to present risks on the road.

Unfortunately, while tanker trucks should be safe, they present many dangers for drivers and passengers on New York’s public roads. Some of the most serious truck accidents involve semi-tankers, with crashes often resulting in serious and fatal injuries that leave victims and families facing significant financial and non-financial losses.

Why Are Tanker Trucks Dangerous?

There are several factors that contribute to the significant risks associated with tanker trucks. These factors pertain to all aspects of tanker trucks, from their design and manufacture to their maintenance and operation.

Some of the biggest dangers associated with tanker trucks include:

Fires and Explosions

Tanker trucks often transport highly flammable and combustible liquids such as gasoline, diesel fuel, ethanol, and agricultural and industrial chemicals. Improper tank construction, failure to properly close a tank, inadequate tank maintenance, and damage during collisions can all lead to leaks, spills, sparks, and other issues that result in fires and explosions.

Leaks and Spills

In addition to fires and explosions, leaks and spills present other dangers as well. When they spill onto the roadway, liquids from the tanker truck can make the road surface slippery. This can cause drivers in the vicinity of the truck to lose control. Leaks and spills of hazardous substances can also cause chemical burns and internal injuries from inhalation at the scene of an accident.

Weight, Weight Capacity, and Pressurization

Tanker trucks are extremely heavy even when their tanks are empty. When fully loaded, they can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds.

With this much weight, tanker trucks can be difficult to control even under ideal road and weather conditions. When the road is wet or covered in ice or snow, tanker truck drivers can easily lose control even if they are doing their best to keep their trucks on the road.

If a tanker truck is filled in excess of its weight capacity, this can significantly increase the likelihood of an accident. The same is true if a tanker truck’s liquid cargo has not been pressurized. Pressurization prevents liquid cargo from sloshing. If a tanker truck’s liquid cargo is sloshing back and forth, this can make it even more difficult for the driver to stop safely and maintain control.

What Can (and Should) Companies Do to Avoid Tanker Truck Dangers?

Given these dangers, what can (and should) companies do to reduce the risk of tanker truck accidents? Some of the most effective ways that companies can prevent tanker truck accidents include:

  • Comply with Federal Safety Regulations – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established a comprehensive set of regulations that are designed to ensure the safety of tanker trucks on public roads. Companies should strictly comply with these regulations at all times.
  • Regularly Maintain Their Tanker Trucks – Companies should regularly maintain their tanker trucks, taking them out of service when necessary. Inadequate maintenance is a common issue, and it is also an issue that can be easily avoided.
  • Conduct Safety Checks Before and During Transit – Companies should conduct safety checks before their drivers hit the road. They should also train their drivers to conduct periodic safety checks during transit.
  • Hire Skilled Tanker Truck Drivers – Safely operating a tanker truck requires both training and experience. Companies should only hire drivers who can demonstrate the ability to operate their trucks safely under real-life traffic conditions.
  • Limit Tanker Truck Drivers’ Hours Behind the Wheel – Many truck accidents happen when truck drivers get fatigued. In order to prevent this, companies should ensure that their drivers do not spend too many consecutive hours behind the wheel.

What Are Your Legal Rights After a Serious or Fatal Tanker Truck Accident?

Given the fact that the vast majority of tanker truck accidents are preventable, accident victims and their families will often be entitled to significant financial compensation. When companies ignore their regulatory obligations, when they put unsafe trucks on the road, and when they hire unqualified drivers, they can – and should – be held accountable.

Seeking financial compensation after a tanker truck accident requires evidence of the specific cause of the collision. This means that it will be necessary to conduct an investigation. It is in your best interest to contact an attorney who can undertake the investigation as soon as possible.

While the driver and the trucking company will be liable in most cases, additional parties may also be at fault (such as the manufacturer of the truck and/or a maintenance provider that worked on the truck). Victims and families must be able to prove liability in order to recover the financial compensation they deserve.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Few types of truck accidents are more serious than those involving tank trucks. Liquid cargo can be volatile, resulting in devastating collisions with other vehicles, fires, explosions, and other catastrophic events.

At Dreyer Boyajian LLP, our team has the resources and experience to hold negligent truck drivers, their employers, and other liable parties to account for the injuries and fatalities they cause. We will investigate the accident promptly, gather crucial evidence, and build a strong claim on your behalf.

Please call Dreyer Boyajian LLP at (518) 463-7784 today for a free case review. Our truck accident lawyers serve clients in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga Springs, and other areas of New York.

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