The Particular Dangers of Tanker Trucks

Fuel Tanker truck driving on country-road/motion

Any type of commercial truck accident can be extremely dangerous and can result in devastating injuries. However, one particularly risky type of vehicle is a tanker truck.1 Instead of a traditional rectangular trailer, a tanker truck uses a long cylindrical metal trailer to transport gases and liquids. These trucks can be dangerous for multiple reasons, some of which are detailed below.

If you have been involved in any type of truck accident in or around Clearwater, Florida, you should call the Dolman Law Group for a free consultation as soon as possible.

Cargo loading issues

Proper cargo loading is important with any type of tractor-trailer, as improperly loaded cargo can lead to loss of control and severe collisions. While over-loading is a serious problem with standard types of commercial trucks, tanker trucks have the opposite risks. In fact, under-loading a tanker truck carrying liquid cargo can be deadly. Whenever a tank is not filled enough, the liquid can slosh around inside the tank anytime the truck takes a turn or curve, especially at high speeds. This sloshing can throw the trailer off balance and the driver may not be able to retain control of the truck.

Determining who is liable for a cargo loading error can be complicated. For example, some trucking companies load their own cargo, while others have third party loaders. Additionally, the tank may be loaded by the company who owns the cargo being transported. Because it is imperative that you file your personal injury claim against the correct party, it is important to have an experienced truck accident attorney who can identify the correct liable party in a cargo loading error. 

Increased risk of serious jackknifes and rollovers

Tanker trailers also have a greater risk of causing more serious collisions should the truck driver lose control for some reason. For example, because the tank is lower and often lighter than a traditional trailer, it can jackknife more easily. A jackknife occurs when the tanker trailer folds in at the coupling and can be perpendicular to the cab of the truck as well as the road. Jackknifes often cause runaway trucks as the momentum of the folded trailer makes it more difficult for the driver to stop. As you can imagine, a large tank plowing across several lanes of traffic can cause devastating damage and injuries to any motorists in its path.

Additionally, if a tanker truck is involved in an accident, there is a chance that the tank can come loose from the trailer. If this happens, because of its cylindrical shape, the tank may roll across many lanes of traffic for a long time. This can result in multiple collisions along the way and serious injuries until the tank is able to stop rolling. These kinds of accidents may be caused because driver negligence or because the coupling or the trailer latches were defective. Determining liability in these types of tanker truck collisions can require extensive investigation and resources.

Cargo spills can be deadly

Tanker trucks often carry liquids or gases that are toxic or flammable. If a tanker is involved in a collision and the cargo spills, it could result in any of the following:

– Fires
– Explosions
– Toxic exposure to nearby motorists
– Environmental or water pollution leading to illness

The damage in such a cargo spill can be extensive and costly. All drivers carrying hazardous cargo are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)2 to hold a special HAZMAT commercial license.3 If an unqualified driver is allowed to operate a truck with hazardous cargo, the consequences can be severe for the trucking company if affected victims file legal claims for personal injury. Such victims deserve full compensation for all of their injury-related losses.

Contact an experienced Clearwater, Florida truck accident attorney for assistance today

At the Dolman Law Group, our highly skilled truck accident lawyers know how to fully investigate all types of truck accidents so that you are able to fully recover for all of your relevant losses. We know how to take on trucking companies in court, so please call to discuss a possible case for free at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756