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Semi Driver Held Responsible for 2009 Cargo Explosion Accident

Earlier today, numerous reports surfaced involving the investigation of a semi-truck accident which caused an explosion of the truck’s cargo. The trucking accident occurred as a result of a semi swerving out of its lane – ultimately causing the driver to forcefully over steer the semi-truck to avoid hitting an automobile in the nearby lane. Due to a combination of the driver’s left and right steers to maintain stability, the semi-truck’s cargo detached from the truck — proceeding to rollover into oncoming traffic. The cargo, which contained over 9,000 gallons of liquefied petroleum gas, escaped from the cargo tank and subsequently ignited. The fire caused substantial injury to both the drivers of the semi-truck and the automobile. Three other passengers sustained injuries as a result of the fire.

At the end of a two-day hearing to determine the cause of the accident, the semi-truck driver was ultimately held responsible. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the cause of the accident was due to the semi-driver’s “excessive and rapid evasive steering maneuvers.” The Board did affirm that semi-trucks provide little to no lenience in the case of operational errors and that the training the driver received could not have prevented this type of accident. In addition, due to the fact that the driver’s logs were destroyed in the cargo fire, there was no way of determining whether the issue of driver fatigue played a role in the accident.

In light of this destructive semi-truck accident the NTSB has issued 20 new safety recommendations for semi-trucks in order to prevent another accident such as this one from reoccurring. Those recommendations include: implementing a rollover prevention program, development of stability control standards in vehicles that weigh over 10,000 pounds, in addition to, providing new standards for cargo tanks that were previously vulnerable to malfunctions.

Our Chicago truck accident attorneys send our deepest condolences to those affected by such a devastating accident. We applaud the efforts of NTSB to improve conditions of semi-trucks in order to prevent the repetition of this type of accident. Semi drivers need to adhere to the utmost care when operating such large vehicles and carelessness or negligence should never be tolerated. If you or someone you know has been seriously injured as a result of a negligent semi-truck accident, you may be able to seek compensation for the damages sustained.