A “normal” commercial truck accident could affect the lives of people in several cars by causing injuries and fatalities during a crash. However, when a big rig carrying hazardous materials crashes, it could endanger the lives of hundreds or even thousands of people, especially if that truck is driving on a road where it is illegal to carry such products.
It is illegal to carry hazardous materials on I-30 in downtown Dallas, for example. The multiple-lane interstate with high-walled sides cuts through densely populated areas of the city – and a crash involving a truck carrying hazardous waste, dangerous chemicals, toxic gases, or explosives could easily contaminate a large area and threaten the health of anyone who lives within a certain radius. For this reason, trucks carrying such materials are asked to take alternative routes through less populated and safer areas.
However, according to Dallas County Sheriff’s Office Deputy John Hurt, few truckers and trucking companies abide by the rules and dozens of dangerous 18-wheelers fly through the downtown Dallas area on I-30 each day. In just four hours on one day in May, Deputy Hunt stopped 50 vehicles that were carrying dangerous materials, such as battery acid and explosives. Many said that they were simply following orders from their truck company or that they weren’t aware of the law. All received $300 tickets for the violation.
How can these dangerous violations be stopped? Police hope that enforcing the law and spreading awareness of the law will help. But safety advocates warn that commercial truck crashes involving hazardous materials can be dangerous anywhere that they occur, even on roads where their activity is allowed. Not only can HAZMAT trucks harm those who are involved in a collision with them, dangerous chemicals and other materials could leak into nearby water sources or into the air, threatening those who live near by.
Have you been injured because of a truck accident involving hazardous materials? Was the truck driving on a road where such materials were illegal? Find out more about your case by speaking with a Dallas truck accident attorney.