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Large Trucks Transporting Hazmat Materials Pose Increased Risk to Public

Although the massive length and weight of large trucks poses an inherent risk to others on Florida roadways, these risks increase significantly when tankers or other commercial trucks are transporting hazardous materials. While the amount of energy generated by a collision involving an 80,000 pound big-rig can cause catastrophic injury or wrongful death to occupants of passenger vehicles, our Miami truck accident lawyers find that toxic or corrosive substances released in a tractor-trailer crash can threaten the safety of anyone in the immediate vicinity of the crash, including residents in the surrounding area.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recognizes the potential for disaster when hazardous substances are released in a semi-truck crash. The federal agency has enacted a range of special regulations that exclusively apply to semi-trucks and tankers transporting hazardous materials, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • States can ban large trucks transporting hazardous cargo from certain roadways if the state makes a determination based on evidence that such a restriction will protect public safety.
  • The driver must have a special hazardous materials endorsement and pass a test.
  • Large trucks transporting hazardous substances may not be parked on private property unless the property owner is aware of the hazardous cargo, knows the driver intends to park on the property, and consents to the vehicle's presence.
  • The commercial vehicle transporting certain kinds or volumes of substances must display a diamond-shaped warning sign referred to as a warning placard.
  • The vehicle cannot be parked within 5 feet of a "traveled portion of a public street or highway."
  • The truck driver or a "qualified representative" must monitor the large truck at all times.

These are just a handful of examples of the special rules that are designed to mitigate the risk associated with large trucks carrying harmful substances. The DOT reports that 200 of the 5,000 fatal commercial trucking accidents each year involve vehicles transmitting hazmat substances. Examples of hazardous materials transported by vehicles involved in these crashes include:

  • Gasoline
  • Radioactive material
  • Chemical gases and liquids
  • Petroleum products
  • Hazardous waste materials
  • Corrosive substances
  • Flammable substances

Even if passenger vehicle occupants manage to avoid catastrophic injuries from the force of impact with a heavy truck transporting harmful materials, there might be an increased risk of a vehicle fire or explosion following the crash. A release or spill of corrosive, radioactive, or noxious substances also can cause severe debilitating injuries.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Florida Trucking Accidents

If you or a close family member suffers a serious injury or you lose someone you love in a crash involving an 18-wheeler, our Miami Large Truck Accident Lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve. For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida. We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida's top firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

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