Truck spills might not be an everyday occurrence, but they certainly aren’t unheard of. There’s a whole website dedicated to cataloging them, after all, and more than a few truck accident attorneys who have seen their fair share of cases involving cargo contents being cast upon the highway. While these are typically played off as wacky, weird, and a bit funny, there’s also some serious potential danger associated with these kinds of truck accidents. Stay knowledgeable — here are some of the ways that big truck spills threaten public safety.
Trucks Carry Volatile Contents
Many times, when we read those “hilarious” truck spill headlines, the cargo in question is something fairly innocuous — boxes of avocados, tons of sausage, etc. What happens when those spilled contents aren’t so harmless, though? Let’s look back to February 20th, 2020, when a truck transporting sulfuric acid crashed and killed approximately 20 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
How about back in 2014, when more than 100 people had to be evacuated in Carson, California, after a rig carrying benzyl chloride spilled its load inside its trailer. No one was hurt, thankfully, but benzyl chloride is a hazardous corrosive, in addition to being a carcinogen and a mutagen. People could very easily have been injured should the chemical have spilled onto the roadways.
We could go on, of course, but the point is that there are times when those truck contents aren’t so harmless, and a spill could cause serious injury (or even death) to the driver and other motorists.
Truck Spills Can Also Be Collisions
Sometimes, trucks might just spill their contents because they were improperly secured. More often, though, trucks crash or collide with other vehicles, which is a hazard irrespective of what sort of cargo they’re carrying. The IIHS estimates that 4,136 people were killed in large truck crashes in 2018 alone, with 67 percent of those deaths being the occupants of passenger vehicles. 15 percent of those deaths were pedestrians and cyclists, while truck occupants make up 16 percent.
When a truck spills its contents, it’s not just deaths from the initial collision that are a problem either. That spill takes time to clean, and so, traffic must come to an abrupt stop. This element of uncertainty makes the roads just a bit more dangerous for other vehicles, and also slows everything down to a crawl while cleanup crews do their thing.
Thankfully, truck spills can be mitigated. Safer driving habits, such as abstaining from speeding, brakin too quickly, or turning abruptly, can help cut down on accidents. Furthermore, properly securing loads, keeping transport trucks well maintained, and making sure drivers are alert and aware are all paramount in reducing incidences of truck cargo spills on the highways.