Trucks are already dangerous. Without any other mitigating factors, trucks are still giant, metal behemoths sharing the roads with their smaller cousins, and colliding into them in any form rarely ends well. However, when the cargo being carried by that truck is a hazardous material of some sort, that danger increases tenfold — which is something every truck driver should be aware of.
When a trucker improperly stores and/or transports hazardous materials, they are putting lives at risk, and they are breaking the law. Regardless of their individual reasoning behind it, it is never okay, and should a tragic accident occur as a result, they — and their employers — should be liable for it.
Worrying HAZMAT finds shine light on hidden issue
Since hazardous materials (including combustibles, gasses, and corrosives) are involved, there are legal regulations involved that go beyond company-specific policies. In fact, trucks in general are subject to more rules and requirements than passenger vehicles due to their potential risk. Just as with any profession of this nature, this means truckers face inspections on just about every aspect of their vehicle and how they manage it — including their handling of those hazardous materials.
Usually, these inspections are scheduled. However, in an effort to crack down on hidden violations, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance ran several unscheduled, surprise inspections around the country — with frightening results. They discovered over 2,000 violations of all sorts revolving around the handling, transporting, and labeling of hazmat loads. Truckers country-wide do not seem to be getting proper training (as those found in violation largely were unaware they were doing something wrong), which is definitely not reassuring.
With hazardous materials, any collision that causes a leak or burst can flood the roads with toxic liquids at least and cause an explosion at worst. For example, an accident between two trucks actually led to hydrochloric acid spilling out over the road. Now, luckily, in this specific scenario no one was hurt or injured (though the roads were shut down), but it is easy to see just how south that could have gone. This is a danger that, while non-truckers can be ignorant about, truckers themselves absolutely should not be. Each and every driver should understand and follow every regulation to a T, and if someone is failing to train them, they need to be held accountable for it.
What are the best training requirements for truckers?
The regulations surrounding trucks and their drivers is extensive and detailed, and for good reason. Each and every single one of those requirements was put in place to save lives, which is why understanding them while driving a truck is paramount for both the driver’s own safety and the safety of all those around them. Aside from regulations pertaining to hazardous materials, there are basic minimums that all companies should be enforcing and training their drivers on:
- Getting proper rest
- Having a commercial vehicle license
- Compliance with federal law
- Keeping proper logs of their driving
- How to drive in inclement weather
- Understanding the truck being driven
It may not seem like it, but there is nothing on that list that is less important than something else. A lack of rest could lead to poor decision making, improperly kept logs muddle accountability, ignorance about inclement weather can obviously lead to terrible accidents, and without understanding the truck or the federal guidelines surrounding it, dangerous mistakes can happen without anyone even realizing it. Even without hazardous materials on board, truck safety cannot be taken lightly.
That being said, there are quite a lot of trucks carrying dangerous, corrosive, toxic cargo every day in our country. About 800,000 shipments per day, in fact. Those are a lot of drivers that should be perfectly trained – and may not be, in more ways than one. If a company has neglected to train their personnel in something as serious as hazmat transport, what other facets are missing? What other dangers are truckers not even aware of?
Innocent people are finding out the hard way every day, and this can leave them and their loved ones scrambling in the aftermath. Not only do the victims that survive have to cope with painful, serious injuries and trauma, they’re left footing all the bills, too. Depending on the severity of the injuries sustained in a truck accident, one could be facing years of extensive – and expensive – medical treatments, therapies, surgeries, and more. Some may have some sort of medical dependency for the rest of their lives. And, if the worst case scenario happens and the victim passes away, their families now must pay for all those costs plus more, all the while trying to cope with their grief and loss – financially and emotionally.
If you or a loved one has been injured – or worse – in a truck accident involving hazardous materials, you know all of this already. This is already your reality, and we are so sorry for that. However, hopefully you know this is not something you are expected to deal with alone. When truck companies fail to train their staff, resulting in your injuries, they need to be held accountable so you can get the compensation and justice you deserve. The legal representation you hire is an integral part of making that happen; you need someone with the experience to build a strong, airtight case on your behalf.
The Chicago truck accident attorneys at Gainsberg Law are proud to represent you, your loved ones, and your family in a court of law to make sure your rights and finances are protected. We know how to keep you involved while still allowing you the peace you and your family needs to recover, no matter what your situation may be. To discuss the details of your case and how we can help, call us today at 312-600-9585 or use our contact form. You do not need to let anyone take any more from you.
Neal S. Gainsberg has spent the last 20 years fighting to protect the rights of the injured in Chicago and throughout Illinois. From consumer rights and bankruptcy to catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, Mr. Gainsberg stands up to large corporations, insurance companies, creditors and hospital administrators to ensure that his clients’ futures are safe and secure. Learn More