Fiery Alabama Tanker Truck Accident Kills Two People
Last July, a young 18-year old man driving a Honda Accord was killed when he crossed the divider and collided with a tanker truck. A passenger in the Honda was seriously injured but was expected to live. The driver of the tanker truck tried to avoid the accident by steering away from the Honda but lost control, ran off the highway and rolled over. The 9,000 gallons of gasoline the tanker was carrying burst into flames. This major tanker truck accident, in addition to shutting down Highway 11 for most of the day, also required nearby residents to be evacuated. The truck driver, who was critically injured in the accident, later died of his injuries. His passenger was injured but not critically.
Tanker trucks, which carry primarily liquids and sometimes hazardous chemicals are more prone to roll-over accidents due to problems with sloshing and swishing of the liquid. Tankers also carry materials like sand, pebbles or other loose materials which have a tendency to shift and cause drivers to lose control.
Causes of Tanker Truck Accidents: Problems with Cargo
Although all big rigs have problems that make them more prone to accidents than sedans or pick-up trucks, tanker trucks, due to the nature of their loads, have unique problems.
• Fires and Explosions are more common: As in the example given, tanker trucks often carry flammable liquids like gasoline. Other chemicals are also susceptible to exploding in a crash. Sadly, some drivers and passengers have been known to survive the impact of the accident only to die in the fire.
• Liquid content sloshes and surges: Tankers carrying liquids are not completely filled since liquids expand when warm and contract when cool. Due to the space that is left, they slosh around side to side and back and forth. Sloshing happens when the tanker makes a sharp turn or even when it goes around a curve. Surging is when the liquid goes back and forth from front to back. This happens when the tanker brakes, and if the driver misjudges distance, or has to stop suddenly, the surge can move the truck forward, possibly even into an intersection.
• Rolling over: Tanker trucks are more likely than regular semis to roll over even when the driver is going the posted speed limit or what would be considered a safe speed in a different vehicle. Also, as in the example given, taking quick evasive action may result in a roll-over, explosion and a crash with serious injuries and fatalities.
Causes of Tanker Truck Accidents: Problems with Drivers
There are a number of reasons truck drivers have accidents. Some primary ones include:
• Distracted drivers: Truck drivers, as do drivers of any vehicles, become distracted by talking or texting, adjusting the radio, drinking and eating.
• Drunk drivers.
• Fatigued and sleep-deprived drivers.
• Improperly loaded big rig which causes the cargo to become unbalanced.
There are other causes, but in 90 percent of all trucking accidents, the fault is due to some type of driver negligence.
The Trucking Company May be Liable for Your Injury
When truck drivers are at fault for a tanker truck accident, it is likely that the trucking company is also liable for drivers’ negligence. The company may have not done a proper background check or not properly trained the driver. The company may not have maintained its trucks according to regulations or not drug-tested the driver.
If you are injured in a collision with a tanker truck, or someone you loved was killed, you need the assistance of experienced truck accident attorneys. Contact us at Ferguson & Ferguson for a case evaluation. You can reach us online or at our toll-free number: (800) 752-1998.