Articles Posted in Tanker Truck Accidents

Truck accidents are dangerous for many reasons, not the least of which is the potential havoc that can be wreaked when a large truck crashes into smaller vehicles or pedestrians. In fact, most accidents involving large trucks are exactly this type of accident, in which a truck collides with a smaller vehicle or a pedestrian, many times after the driver fails to notice the other person. However, another type of truck accident can occur when a truck’s cargo spills onto the highway, causing a serious hazard for passing motorists.

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By now, readers of this blog are aware that truck drivers all have a duty to those with whom they share the road to safely operate their vehicles. And, as discussed above, most victims of truck accidents are those with whom the truck physically collided. However, what readers may not know is that truck drivers and their employers can also be held liable for damage or injuries caused by the truck’s cargo being spilled onto the road.

Tanker Truck Crashes, Spilling Over 8,000 Gallons of Fuel

Earlier this month, a single-truck accident in Des Moines, Iowa left thousands of gallons of fuel spilled near the highway. According to one local news report covering the accident, the truck was heading westbound on a state highway when witnesses say the truck driver lost control of the rig. After losing control, the truck rolled several times, eventually coming to a complete stop in the median.

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All motorists have a duty to safely operate their vehicles when on public roads. Of course, this includes following all posted traffic signs as well as following the written traffic laws of whatever jurisdiction they happen to be driving in. Not only does this general duty apply to truck drivers, but also a heightened duty applies in many situations.

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One of the situations in which truck drivers are held to higher expectations is when it comes to drowsy driving. Truck drivers are required by state and federal laws to document the amount of time they spend on the road, as well as the amount of time they spend resting. This is in order to keep tabs on truck drivers’ total number of hours on the road, in the hope of reducing serious or fatal truck accidents caused by drowsy driving.

Truck drivers are incentivized by their employers to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. Many truck drivers are paid per mile, and the quicker they get to their destination, the quicker they can turn around, load up, and make another profitable trip. However, being on the road for countless hours on end is naturally taxing on a driver, and a driver’s awareness, judgment, and ability to stay awake and safely operate their vehicle is greatly compromised after a while.

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Earlier last month in Garret County, a propane tanker was involved in an accident that resulted in it toppling over on the side of the road. In an abundance of caution, officials in the city of Oakland decided to reroute school bus service and evacuate a part of the town. According to a report by a local ABC affiliate, that accident occurred in the small town of Oakland, which is about 60 miles south of Somerset. Evidently, the accident occurred shortly after 10 a.m.

propane-173-m.jpgThe local hazmat team was called in to investigate and clean up the accident. Luckily, there were no lives lost, and injuries were kept to a minimum. In addition to rerouting school bus routes, the county jail and 911 center were also evacuated. It is not clear at the moment how the accident occurred, and who was at fault for it. However, an investigation is underway. Currently, police do not believe that drugs or alcohol were involved in the tanker accident.

Truck and Tanker Spills

On occasion, trucks and tankers carry dangerous chemicals, gases, or other cargo. When these trucks and tankers get into an accident, there is an additional danger, namely that the hazardous cargo will cause harm above and beyond the physical harm caused by the accident.

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Earlier last month in Fall River, Massachusetts, a tanker truck carrying over 11,000 gallons of gasoline toppled over off the side of the highway, creating a near state of emergency for nearby emergency personnel. According to a report by the Herald News, the truck swerved off the road for unknown reasons shortly after 7 a.m. on January 27. Once the truck flipped, it caught on fire and the 11,000 gallons of gasoline began to burn, sending plumes of thick grey-black smoke into the air.

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Thankfully, the driver of the truck was the only person to sustain any injuries. She was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and is expected to fully recover. Emergency responders allowed the fire to consume the gasoline, rather that attempt to put it out.

Police are not sure why the truck swerved off the road in the first place, and are currently interviewing witnesses to the accident to determine what happened.

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Earlier this week, a tanker truck filled with petroleum collided with an SUV on Route 152 near the I-95 northbound exit ramp, causing numerous emergency personnel to respond. According to a report by the Baltimore Sun, the accident occurred on January 3rd at 9:08 in the morning and drew three fire trucks as well as a team of paramedics due to the volatile nature of the truck’s cargo.

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The driver of the SUV suffered minor injuries, but is expected to recover. The driver of the tanker trailer was uninjured. There was no active leak discovered; however a hazmat team was called to assist in transporting the truck away from the accident scene. All precautions were taken until the truck was removed from the scene.

Dangerous Cargo Can Turn a Semi-Truck into a Bomb

Semi-trucks are enormous vehicles that have the potential to inflict immense amounts of damage due to their size alone. However, fill up the same semi-truck with flammable liquids such as petroleum and the potential disaster becomes even larger.

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A Maryland truck driver narrowly escaped serious injury when his tanker truck struck a guardrail in an attempt to exit a freeway for a detour.

According to the Sheriff’s department, the accident occurred at an exit where a detour is currently in place for the beginning of a construction zone on the interstate. The driver reportedly failed to make the turn at the end of the off ramp properly, which resulted in his truck striking the guardrail. Fortunately, the driver was not injured. tanker.jpg

A Sheriff’s office spokesperson stated that the guardrail did its job, so to speak, by stopping the truck from going over the steep embankment.

While the tanker, which was filled with vegetable oil, was not damaged, the tractor sustained significant front end damage, which reportedly included a ruptured diesel fuel tank.

The accident remains under investigation. It remains unclear whether the driver was at fault for failing to make the turn adequately, or rather perhaps there was insufficient room for his truck to pass through the detour area properly.

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As Maryland personal injury lawyers, we know of few more terrifying accidents that driver can find themselves in than a car or truck fire. While pedestrians and motorcycle riders who are hurt in traffic accidents can receive some bad injuries, being trapped in a burning motor vehicle and knowing that one’s fuel tank is filled with the equivalent of many sticks of dynamite can be a horrifying experience, and one that survivors of such events are not soon to forget.

Roadway accidents happen all over the state of Maryland and the Washington, D.C., area. But vehicle fires are not always seen, though they do occur with some frequency. As auto accident attorneys practicing in the Baltimore area, I and my colleagues are ready to assist those victims of car, truck and pedestrian accidents, as well as to assist the families who have lost a loved one following a tragic and untimely death.

A while back we heard of one accident that would likely send chills through drivers everywhere. The roadway crash in question took place on a Friday evening when a commercial tanker truck carrying a load of gasoline crashed and burned in the area of Port Deposit, Maryland. According to news reports, the incident took place around 9pm at the intersection of Main St. and Rte 222 in Cecil County, MD. According to the Maryland State Police, the tanker truck was rounding what officials describe as a “sweeping curve” as it came down a rather steep incline heading westbound from Interstate 95 on the way into Port Deposit.

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Whether you live or work in Maryland or over in the District of Columbia, if you are a driver you no doubt commute in the company of many different types of commercial vehicles, such as the smaller panel vans and contractor utility trucks all the way up to large box trucks, tanker vehicles and big rig 18-wheelers. As any motorist knows, at least innately, it’s that they never want to get into an accident with one of these larger motor vehicles for fear of the possibly extreme injuries and potential fatal consequences that a highway collision can entail.

As Maryland personal injury lawyers, I and my legal staff know the feeling of being “cornered” by a large commercial vehicle. While many passenger car accidents can leave the victims in very bad condition (with weeks, if not months of recovery ahead of them), tangling with a semi tractor-trailer can raise the odds of being critically injured or killed many times over. Add to that the possibility that the truck involved is carrying a flammable load or other dangerous cargo, well, the possible scenarios can be downright scary to even imagine.

Receiving severe injuries, such as head trauma, spinal damage, or complex internal injuries is nothing compared to being caught in a burning car with immobilizing injuries limiting one’s ability to escape. In such cases, all a person can do is hope for a Good Samaritan to put themself at risk or that emergency responders will arrive before it’s too late. Frankly, the thought of a car fire is too terrifying for most people to even consider. Throw into that mix a car carrying a family with young children and it could be an unfathomable tragedy beyond words.

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Trucking accidents come in a variety of types, from single-vehicle and rollover wrecks to multi-vehicle and fatal collisions. No matter what the circumstances, being caught up in commercial truck crash while riding in a smaller passenger vehicle is hardly an enviable position in which to find oneself. We won’t even enter into a conversation of a pedestrian, bicyclist or motorcycle rider injured by a semi tractor-trailer or other large commercial vehicle.

Any driver who has been on the road for even a short time will understand the feeling of intimidation that a large tractor-trailer rig imparts to the occupants of smaller passenger cars, minivans and even large sport utility vehicles. Frankly, at 50,000 pounds of vehicle and cargo, the average 18-wheeler represents a huge amount of mass when compared to a relatively tiny sedan or economy car.

While freight forwarders and other delivery vehicles carry heavy loads, steel haulers and scrap trucks can be some of the heavier-laden vehicles on the interstates. If one is looking for one of the more deadly loads on our roadways, look no further than the ubiquitous tanker truck. While these are also quite heavy, big rigs pulling trailer filled with caustic chemicals or flammable liquids chemicals have the added danger of losing their contents in the event of a bad traffic accident.

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To some people there is nothing quite so scary as the thought of being burned alive. While most people likely consider a house fire as one of the most frightening events, an automobile fire can be extremely terrifying and many times more dangerous because of the smaller space and the increased chances of the occupants being trapped in the vehicle following a serious traffic crash.

As a Maryland trucking accident attorney, I wouldn’t be the least surprised to learn that a healthy number of drivers in Baltimore, Frederick and Rockville, MD, do their best to steer clear of commercial tanker trucks carrying gasoline, fuel oil, propane as well as other flammable and potentially explosive substances. Although car fires are relatively few and far between when compared to the total number of highway collisions every year, those odds can be increased whenever a tank truck carrying flammable cargo is involved.

According to a news report a while back, a propane tanker crashed and overturned along a stretch of Interstate 70 in Mount Airy, MD. The accident, which took place on a Sunday morning a little east of Md 27, resulted in the roadway being closed off for nearly six hours as emergency responders and hazmat crews worked to clean up the crash site. Fortunately, no one was hurt in this particular instance, which is amazing in itself.

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