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Danger Posed by Semi-Truck Accidents Resulting in the Release of Hazardous Materials

April 07, 2014

The trucking industry provides a vital component of the logistics process in Georgia and throughout the U.S. If you travel the highways in and around Atlanta, you are likely to see over-the-road truckers hauling products for the top retailers across the country. What might not be as obvious are drivers in rigs that are hauling any of a wide variety of flammable or hazardous materials. While many of the responsibilities of hazardous or flammable material truck drivers and commercial carriers are identical to that of other semi-truck drivers and trucking companies, there are some important differences designed to protect the public from the risk of fire, explosion, radiation and other effects of potentially hazardous substances.

All commercial drivers must comply with state requirements to receive their commercial driver's license (CDL). However, truck drivers who will be transporting dangerous materials must also obtain a special endorsement and pass a criminal background check which includes getting fingerprinted by the Transportation Security Administration.

There is no argument that hauling hazardous and flammable materials poses a risk to the public. Many people are unaware that millions of shipments containing hazardous material are transported daily on Georgia highways and elsewhere throughout the U.S. Some estimates suggest that up to fifteen percent of goods being shipped by commercial carriers at any time are hazardous materials. This includes products that are corrosive, ignitable, explosive, toxic or reactive, such as motor oil, pesticides, and paint.

Trucks that are transporting hazardous materials are supposed to be marked with a special placard that identifies their contents as hazardous and specifies the type of substance being transported by the semi-truck. This labeling requirement is important in protecting residents from the adverse effects of toxic substances because it helps to expedite appropriate decision making by first-responders in the wake of a trucking accident involving the release of hazardous materials. Additional markings may also be required by law depending on the hazardous material in question.

Trucking industry data for transportation of hazardous materials reveals that the number of HAZMAT accidents on highways is twelve times greater than for hazardous materials shipped by rail transport. There also are four times the number of fatalities in roadway HAZMAT accidents. The United State Department of Transportation estimates that there are about 200 fatal HAZMAT truck accident or trucking accidents transporting dangerous material each year. When these collisions occur, they not only can lead to the carnage that ordinarily accompanies a semi-truck crash but also presents that added risk of fire or explosion along with long-term environmental effects from exposure to chemicals or gases that may lead to serious medical conditions like cancer.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 35 Years of Legal Experience to Work For You

If you or someone close to you has been injured in a trucking accident, you may have a right to compensation for your injuries. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries or wrongful death for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Truck Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.