How To Handle Tanker Truck Accidents

What Are Tanker Truck Accidents?

Tanker trucks are motor vehicles that transport large quantities of liquids and gases. These large trucks come in different sizes and are characterized by the cylindrical tank lying horizontally on the vehicle. They are the primary vehicle of choice for moving liquid cargo such as petrol by road, making them an important component of the American trucking industry.

Unfortunately, as important as they are, tankers are not immune to road accidents, and the impact of such accidents could be devastating.

As a tanker truck driver, seeking justice and fair compensation in the unfortunate event of a tanker truck accident becomes paramount if you’ve suffered any injuries. Our dedicated team at Hurt Trucker Attorneys is prepared to uphold your rights and advocate for the compensation you deserve. We understand the complexities of tanker truck accidents and are committed to helping you navigate the legal process to secure the justice and support you need.

In this guide, we explain how such accidents may be avoided and how you might be able to manage the situation if you are ever involved in such an accident. 

Why Tanker Truck Accidents Are So Dangerous

Generally, road accidents involving commercial and semi trucks are inherently dangerous due to their large sizes compared to regular passenger cars. But with tankers, the risk of harm increases because of the following:

Hazardous materials

Many tankers are used to transport hazardous substances such as gasoline, industrial chemicals, and diesel fuel. Upon a collision involving a tanker, these liquids could spill over. If the cargo is flammable, it could lead to an explosion within minutes. It is difficult for anyone to survive such a fiery crash.

Depending on the liquid being transported, a leak after a collision could also cause chemical burns for anyone present after the scene. 

Essentially, in other kinds of truck accidents, those involved only have to worry about the impact of the collision. But with tanker trucks, there’s a huge risk of instant death or extensive bodily harm depending on the materials being transported. 

 Rollover Risk

Tanker trucks are tall and narrow, which gives them a high center of gravity. This structure makes them prone to overturning.

When such rollovers happen, the life of the truck driver is at risk. The lives of other passersby may also be affected if the truck crash lands on them or their vehicles or if there are hazardous materials on board.

How To Avoid Tanker Truck Accidents

Truck Accident Statistics show that violations of crucial safety rules are responsible for many truck accidents. This means that such accidents are avoidable if everyone concerned obeys the rules.

You can do your own part to avoid such accidents as a tanker truck driver by taking note of the following safety tips and applying them as you drive.

Compliance With the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulations

The FMCSA is an agency under the Department of Transport. It is the primary regulator of the commercial trucking industry. It has mandatory safety rules that trucking companies and truck drivers must follow. They include the following:

Hours of Service 

Truck drivers are restricted to specific hours of service within a week to avoid accidents that may occur due to driver fatigue.

Protocols for Hazardous Materials 

Trucking companies transporting hazardous materials must train their drivers and develop safety protocols for handling, loading, and unloading such cargo.

Periodic Vehicle Inspection 

Trucking companies are mandated to organize routine inspections on all trucks to ensure their vehicles do not have any faulty parts. Vehicles that do not pass inspection cannot be used for business.

As a truck driver, you must also inspect your truck before you begin a trip and report any defect in the truck or any of its components. If you discover any faults or defects, do not drive the truck until they are fixed. 

There are several other rules made by the FMCSA that you may need to comply with. You can ask a truck attorney for help understanding these rules and how to comply with them. 

Avoid Sudden Movements

Try to employ slow and smooth maneuvers, and avoid abrupt stops and sudden braking as you drive. These actions can help keep your vehicle stable and reduce the risk of rollover accidents.

Do Not Overspeed

Be sure to drive within the speed limits and observe any speed restrictions you may be subject to depending on your cargo.

What To Do if You Get Involved in a Tanker Truck Accident

If you are wondering what to do after a tanker truck accident, the following steps can help:

  1. Prioritize Safety: First, ensure the safety of all individuals involved. If possible, move to a safe location away from the accident scene to prevent further harm, especially if hazardous materials are involved. 
  2. Call for Help: Call emergency services (911) to report the accident and request medical assistance if anyone is injured. The first responders can also help to contain the accident scene if hazardous materials have spilled over. 
  3. Inform Your Trucking Company: If you drive for a trucking company, you’ll need to inform them about the accident as soon as possible. They would need to contact the cargo owners and deal with other legalities that may arise due to the accident.
  4.  Gather Information: Try to collect essential information from the other driver involved (if any), including their name, contact details, license plate number, and insurance information. Also, obtain contact information from any witnesses at the scene. Depending on who is responsible for the accident, you may need this information to pursue a personal injury claim. 
  5. Document the Scene: Take photos of the accident scene, damaged vehicles, and any visible injuries. This documentation can be crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
  6. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you appear to have sustained only minor injuries, seeking medical care immediately after a truck accident is important. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent but could progressively worsen without medical treatment. Seeing a doctor can help you get the treatment you deserve or rule out the presence of internal injuries.

These steps only apply if you are conscious or have sustained little or no injuries after the accident. If your injuries are severe, your first consideration should be getting medical attention immediately.

Get Competent Legal Representation After a Tanker Truck Crash

Tanker truck crashes can be devastating for all involved. But the devastation you may feel if you’re involved in such an accident would intensify if you cannot get compensation for your injuries.

In such cases, you don’t have to navigate the legalities alone. Our experienced Attorneys for Injured Truckers can provide dedicated support and legal guidance throughout the compensation claims process. 

We understand the unique challenges you may encounter in these cases. We are here to help you seek justice and the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses resulting from the accident.

Contact us at Hurt Trucker Attorneys today. Let us help protect your rights and secure your future after a tanker truck accident.