Commercial trucks transport a wide variety of goods in their employment to the diverse array of businesses and services offered throughout our nation. If you take notice to the types of trucks you see on the road, you can see that just in any given day you will see trucking companies that transport goods far different from each other. Some are carrying food products from different locations, others carrying furniture, machinery and tools for industries, some have large furniture, and others may even have to carry dangerous goods as part of their job.
Oftentimes the law imposes a higher standard on those conducting what are considered “inherently dangerous activities.” This is known as strict liability. Tortfeasors are strictly liable for activities which are extremely dangerous in their very nature. Some common examples include crop dusting, blasting, or transporting toxic chemicals. If an injury results from inherently dangerous activities like these, and the injury is one that is typical and expected of such an activity, the negligent party may be held strictly liable through a personal injury lawsuit.
In a recent report by Fox News, a hazardous chemical spill was the result of a tractor trailer overturning on Interstate 57 in Champaign. As a result of the spill, over 100 residents had to leave their homes because of the danger posed by the chemical’s vapors. The chemical that spilled was dimethylaminopropylamine, which is a chemical used in cleaners and shampoos. The chemical is extremely flammable, and the vapors from it can cause health complications.
The driver changed lanes, at which point he felt the trailer jackknife. The tanker detached from the truck, and they separated. The tanker slid on its side into the road’s center median. The driver received a citation for driving too fast for the weather conditions, which were very snowy.
Thankfully, this spill was contained and cleaned up by the evening of the same day of the crash. It is imperative that when a spill occurs that it can be controlled, cleaned, and eliminated as quickly as possible. According to Penn State University, when a hazardous chemical leaks from a damaged truck, people must to everything possible to stop the leak and spill. If a spill is large, emergency help is required, and the driver should not try to remedy the situation himself. Instead, a driver should call for emergency help, and should not leave the site unattended. Also, have the product label and material safety data sheet so that authorities can handle the chemical properly. In the case a driver is employed to transport a dangerous chemical, the vehicle operator should be trained in emergency response procedures in the case of a chemical spill. This includes not only having the product information on hand, but securing the containers from moving during transport, and regularly inspecting the tank, lining, nozzles, etc.
Our attorneys understand that truck accidents are already very dangerous, but when adding a chemical spill on top of a crash, the situation can be a dire emergency. We believe in keeping our community safe, and support that truck drivers not only be trained to properly handle dangerous chemicals but how to respond in an emergency as well.