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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Factors in Tanker Rollover Accidents

Tanker truck rollover accidents can be very dangerous. Tanker trucks often carry toxic chemicals, flammable liquids, or otherwise dangerous fluids, and when they roll over their cargo is likely to spill. This can create a dangerous situation for other drivers on the road and may lead to subsequent accidents and injuries.

To prevent this more dangerous type of truck accident, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in conjunction with the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) has identified four major factors in tanker truck rollover accidents:

  • Vehicle design and maintenance
  • Load effects
  • Roadway factors
  • Driver factors

Cargo tank trailers have a relatively high center of gravity, making them more liable to roll during a sudden maneuver. Vehicle maintenance can also impact the performance of a truck. Poor brake performance, damaged suspensions, and under-inflated tires all increase the risk of rollover during truck operation. To reduce the risk of accidents, drivers are required to perform pre-trip inspections to ensure that their vehicles are in working order adequate to the trip ahead.

A liquid load behaves differently than a solid load, sloshing in the tank and increasing the risks involved in any sudden maneuver. To prevent sloshing from causing a rollover accident, drivers are encouraged to avoid speeding and tailgating, and to anticipate maneuvers.

Roadway factors include curves that are too tight, especially on ramps or hills. Also important is the nature of the shoulder, curb, or margin around a road or driveway. It may not seem like it, but tanker trucks, like SUVs, are susceptible to tripping, which is one of the main causes of rollover accidents.

Overall, many of these factors are dependent on the driver to properly identify the situation and respond appropriately. A driver's failure to shift properly or taking a turn too tightly, can easily lead to a rollover accident. Driver fatigue, driver inattention, and, of course, alcohol and drug use can impair a driver's judgment and increase the risk of accidents. Overall, the prevention of rollover accidents depends on the truck driver, who in turn depends on the trucking company to provide proper training, plan routes safely, and allow adequate time for the completion of deliveries.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a tanker truck rollover accident, the chances are it wasn't just the driver, but may have involved maintenance, scheduling, training, and other elements of the trucking company. At The Cochran Firm, we are prepared to pursue those who hold ultimate responsibility for your accident to ensure you and your loved ones receive full compensation for your injuries. To learn whether we can help you, please call or email us today for a free case evaluation.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 1:36 PM

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