Tanker Trucks Pose Extra Risks to Motorists

September 21, 2016 | Category: Car Accidents, Truck Accidents

The flammable and inflammable markings on many tanker trucks tend to elicit great debate about their relative danger relating to fire and explosions. To be clear, both markings indicate an identical danger in terms of fire and even explosions. However, all drivers need to know that any type liquid cargo in a tanker truck can increase danger to nearby motorists. In spite of strict federal and local regulations, drivers need to be alert.

Liquid Cargo is in Constant Motion

Even small containers lose stability when filled with liquid. Place a partially-filled jar of water on its side, and it is likely to move unpredictably until the water settles. Now imagine how liquid can affect the movement of a tanker driving at high speeds in traffic. The motion of any contents within a truck is known as cargo surge, and drivers who transport liquid cargo need special training and skills, which is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration carries requirements for tank vehicle endorsement.

Procedures for operating commercial tankers can differ based on many considerations, such as the following:

  • How full the tanker is
  • The density of the liquid cargo
  • The type of tank
  • Road and weather conditions

Still, even with extensive training, tanker drivers cannot always fully control the motion of their trailers. A sudden wind, a pot hole, a bit of oil on the road or any number of unexpected encounters can set the trailers into extra lateral motion that causes the truck to jackknife. Even if the truck remains upright, the trailer can easily strike a passing vehicle, sending it careening into other lanes of traffic. Of course, the risks increase significantly when that truck contains gasoline or other flammable liquid.

Nature Should Not Reduce Liability in Tanker Accidents

In the event of a tanker accident, the attorneys who represent trucking company concerns may try to cite mother nature as a defense for drivers who lost control even when they otherwise complied with all laws and regulations. The plaintiff's' attorneys need to conduct thorough investigations to show negligence. For example, perhaps a trucker should have stayed off the road when official forecasts indicated the likelihood of strong wind conditions.  

The burden of proof falls to the injury victims in these cases, which is why it is vital to engage a Los Angeles auto accident attorney who understands the special issues involved in trucking accident cases. Call us at (844) 478-3626 / (844) 4RUDMAN, at our Los Angeles office at (213) 375-3777 or at our Studio City office (818) 769-6969.

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