Large trucks create substantial risks on the roadways of Tennessee. The weight and size of these vehicles make them extremely dangerous, and serious injuries often result when other vehicles are involved in trucking accidents. When carrying hazardous materials, trucks and tractor-trailers become even more concerning. This high-risk cargo can greatly exacerbate injuries typically related to vehicle accidents.
What are hazardous materials
The Federal Highway Administration defines hazardous materials as dangerous substances that are capable of causing harm to a person’s health or the physical environment. Some examples of hazardous materials include:
- Combustible materials. Solid or liquid materials that are highly flammable or vulnerable to explosion.
- These dangerous materials are extremely damaging when brought into contact with skin or other materials.
- Poisonous substances cause harmful chemical reactions when absorbed into a person’s body.
- Infectious substances. These substances contain pathogens that can lead to diseases in people and animals.
- These substances accelerate fires and cause combustible objects to spontaneously burn, even without an igniting flame.
Rules for trucks with hazardous cargo
The high risk of transporting hazardous materials on the highways is so significant that state and federal governments maintain rules and laws that truck companies and drivers must follow when carrying hazardous cargo. In Tennessee, the HazMat Section of the Department of Transportation takes on this responsibility. Some specific regulations include:
- Appropriate truck signage. Drivers must place adequate signage on the outside of the truck, which identifies the types of material inside as hazardous. These placards are usually required on all sides of the vehicle to warn other drivers and individuals on the roadways of the potential risk.
- Proper handling of material. Drivers and loaders must handle the hazardous materials in a reasonably safe manner. This includes safely loading the materials into the truck and securing them properly to prevent accidents.
- Roadway and parking restrictions. Regulations prohibit the transport of some hazardous materials on certain roadways. Vehicles with dangerous cargo may also be restricted from parking in close proximity to public roadways.
- Continuous monitoring. Extremely dangerous materials may require continuous monitoring to ensure proper maintenance and prevent tragic accidents.
- Operator education. Before truck drivers are legally allowed to haul hazardous cargo, they must take specific classes on proper handling and safety measures.
If you were injured in a hazardous material trucking accident, trust your case to experienced Memphis truck accident attorneys. The lawyers of Bailey & Greer, PLLC pride themselves on providing quality legal representation to the residents of Memphis, Jackson, and West Tennessee. Call our office at 901.475.7434 or complete our convenient contact form today.