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.
As Maryland personal injury lawyers, we represent individuals hurt as a result of another person’s negligence or thoughtless actions. Whether one is injured on a highway near Rockville, along a boulevard in the District, or outside a trucking depot in Annapolis, the seriousness of one’s bodily injuries can add up to large medical bills and rehabilitation expenses following a bad crash. If one becomes involved in a tanker accident, burns and other critical injuries can be particularly life-threatening.
We are reminded of the potentially deadly consequences of a fuel tanker accident many times during the year. In fact, not too long ago we noted a thankfully non-fatal, but nonetheless serious accident involving a tanker filled with diesel fuel. The accident in question took place on the Cecil County side of the bridge that crosses the Conowingo Dam in late October last year.
According to news articles, the crash took place on a Wednesday night along that stretch of Rte 1 traversing the dam. Based on reports, the crash occurred around 11pm when the semi hauling a fuel tanker trailer overturned and burst into flames. Police reports indicated that traffic was rerouted for almost 24 hours while crews cleaned up the bridge area that crosses the Susquehanna River.
News reports showed that a medevac chopper was dispatched to the scene of the crash to transport a single victim — presumably the driver of the big rig. Meanwhile, estimates of the total amount of fuel spilled ranged from 3,000 to 7,500 gallons; Harford County officials did not know exactly how much flammable liquid was in the tanker when the crash happened. While no mention was made as to the cause of the crash, if the accident involved a single truck, driver error could be a potential factor as would be some kind of mechanical equipment failure, such as a blown tire(s) or brake/suspension failure.
Members of the Darlington Volunteer Fire Company, Lancaster County Fire Department, and the Harford County Hazmat team all pitched in to assist Cecil County fire personnel contain and clean up the spill.
UPDATED: Route 1 at Conowingo Dam Re-Opened, Patch.com, October 27, 2011