Driving in winter weather isn’t easy for anyone. Commercial trucks navigating icy roads present even more of a safety challenge. Add a load of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) to the mix and it’s amazing there aren’t more accidents like the one that happened recently in nearby Maysville.A truck driver on his way to deliver a blasting agent to a lime and stone mine lost control on an ice-covered roadway. The truck turned over into a creek and dumped part of its load of ammonium nitrate fuel oil mixture, necessitating the closure of the road and cleanup directed by the Kentucky Department of Environmental Response. Fortunately for the driver, his injuries were minor enough that he was released after being treated at a local hospital. Truck wrecks are always dangerous because a truck’s size and weight can cause serious injuries, if not fatalities. Wrecks that involve hazardous materials can be even more destructive, resulting in devastating injuries as well as long-term environmental effects. In general, any kind of solid, liquid, or gas, which is flammable, or which can cause chemical burns or radiation, falls under the category of hazardous materials. Examples include flammable oils, gasoline, hazardous waste, dangerous chemicals, radioactive materials, chemical gases, compressed gases, and spent nuclear fuel. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are about 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials transported over America’s roads every day. The Department of Transportation estimates that approximately 5,000 fatal truck accidents occur annually and that 200 of those accidents involve a HAZMAT truck.
Although HAZMAT carrier wrecks occur less often than those involving non-HAZMAT carriers, their consequences are often far more dangerous due to the nature of their loads.Some hazardous materials present a risk of fire or explosion when spilled. Others may be radioactive and can cause health problems in people who are exposed simply by being within the vicinity of the accident site. Still other materials can seep into the ground and the water supply, resulting in widespread contamination. Transportation accidents can mean significant liabilities for cargo owners, manufacturers, shippers, and purchasers. That means there are multiple parties that may be financially responsible when a truck dumps hazardous material. If a HAZMAT truck has been involved in a wreck with you or near your home, protect your rights by calling the Johnson Law Firm at 606-437-4488 or by filling out our consultation form for a free assessment of your case.