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Virginia tanker truck accidentPhoto Credit - Frederick County Sheriff's Office

Virginia truck accidents can be among the most serious and severe motor vehicle collisions on the roadways today. But some of these collisions are worse than others. Often times, the worst collisions are not necessarily worse because of the manner of the collision, but because of the freight involved. 

Tanker trucks often carry liquids, and this liquid can range from something as innocuous as milk, to chemicals as dangerous as gasoline, and other flammable materials. These trucks represent specific dangers to the motoring public, if these tanker trucks are operated negligently, and without the due regard necessary when dealing with a Hazmat (HAZardous-MATerials) vehicle.

Tanker truck drivers have to drive with more awareness, and more foresight than other truck drivers. If you have been involved in an accident involving a tanker truck, then you need to call an experienced truck accident attorney today.

Why are tanker rollovers so common?

Tanker truck accidents usually, though not always, involve the rollovers. This happens when the liquid is not properly loaded. That may seem counterintuitive, but it's not. There is a proper way to load a liquid transport vehicle, such as a tanker truck. The trailer has to be correctly filled, because if there is not enough liquid in the tank, then sloshing can occur. This is the same thing that happens if you hold a cup in your hand, and you swirl it around. As you swirl, more liquid is on one side than the other. In a large container such as a tanker trailer, this sloshing can actually push on one side of the trailer, causing it to tip.

Industry standards generally require that tanker trucks have no less than 75% of their full capacity. This lessens the likelihood of a rollover due to sloshing.

An additional concern is overfilling the trailer. The truck trailers are specifically rated to interact with semi tractors, based on maximum rated loads. But if there is more liquid than the truck driver is expecting, it may impact the braking distance, since there is now more load behind him (pushing him forward), than perhaps the brakes are rated for. Overfills do not often cause rollovers, but they can still be a contributing factor the truck accidents.

Industry standards and regulations for tanker trucks

Tanker trucks have their own section within the FMCSA, or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act. Initially, only drivers who have been "rated" to receive a tanker endorsement may drive tanker trucks, pursuant to federal regulations.

As with any commercial vehicle, there are laws that govern just how much weight may be held, and what steps have to be taken in order to properly transport these materials. Overloading, or under loading a tanker truck can be very dangerous. Trucking companies know this.

Special concerns for gasoline transport tankers

Truck drivers hauling gasoline have to be especially careful when driving, as their cargo is incredibly flammable. These drivers are generally required to stop at railroad crossings, like school buses. These trucks are also very heavily monitored, and most do not exceed 55 mph, even on the highway.

Specialized training for tanker truck drivers

Just because a driver has a CDL, does not mean that he or she can pull all freight. In order to drive a tanker truck, a truck driver needs to go through specific training relating to the transportation of hazardous materials.

Additionally, not all freight can be transported on all roads, at all times. Certain roads are specifically closed to hazardous materials, such as gasoline. Some regulations do not permit certain tanker trucks to go through tunnels, which means that the truck driver has to drive around the tunnel, sometimes far out of his way. Other regulations govern where tanker trucks can park for the night.

There are specialized divisions within police departments for commercial vehicle enforcement. Some local police departments have these truck inspectors, but often they are state level agencies. In Maryland and Virginia, for example, the State Police have Troopers and officers who are specially assigned to the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement.

Tanker truck accidents

Tanker truck accidents can cause harm that is not often found in regular car accidents, or even regular truck accidents. A tanker truck hauling gasoline can, if there is a fire or explosion, release dangerous toxins and fumes into the air which can harm people. If your vehicle is too close at the time of the accident, you may experience trouble breathing, pain, other respiratory issues, and of course burns. The trauma, physical as well as emotional, of being involved in a Virginia tanker truck accident can be extreme.

If you have been injured in a tanker truck accident, then you need an experienced Virginia truck accident team who knows how to fight the trucking companies, and their insurance. You need someone who is going to work hard to maximize your recovery, not minimize it like the insurance outfits. Get Justice with Joe, and call Blaszkow Legal today at 703-879-5910!