Fuel tankers are among the most dangerous vehicles on the road, because they carry loads that make them vulnerable to rollovers and explosions. A truck accident lawyer Las Vegas commonly sees serious injuries and fatalities caused by fuel tanker accidents on Nevada’s open roads and highways.
Fuel Tankers Pose High Fatality Risks
Fuel tankers, with their flammable loads, are considered some of the most dangerous vehicles on the road. Due to their hazardous, liquid cargo, fuel tankers are unstable and especially susceptible to rollovers when involved in motor vehicle accidents. When rollovers occur, the chance of explosions and fires that result in serious injuries and fatalities are very high.
Recent National Highway Traffic and Safety statistics show that there are more than 100,000 fuel tankers on U.S. roads. Typically, fuel tankers carry between 5,000 and 12,000 gallons of fuel in their tanks. A typical semi-truck gasoline tanker holds approximately 9,000 gallons of fuel. In the U.S., there is a maximum gross weight limit of 80,000 pounds for each truck. When truck crashes and rollover accidents occur, fuel tanks often rupture spilling fuel and hazardous chemicals that easily ignite from engine heat and sparks. Fuel vapors may even be ignited when an accident victim or nearby person uses a cell phone to call for help. When fuel tankers are involved in a crash, the result is often large explosions, intense fires, and exposure to toxic fumes that pose serious health hazards for anyone within a certain radius. A truck accident lawyer Las Vegas often handles wrongful death claims that result from fuel tanker explosions.
Fuel tanker accidents pose high fatality risks for everyone involved in the accident:
- Crushing Injuries – A fully loaded fuel tanker can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. This weight creates significant momentum as the fuel truck travels down the road. If the fuel truck rear ends another vehicle at high speed, this momentum can cause the fuel truck to barrel over the vehicle it hits, crushing the occupants in the vehicle. The risk of death is very high in these types of accidents.
- Hazmat Situations – In 2014, there were approximately 2,700 fuel tanker accidents that required Hazmat assistance. Heath studies show that prolonged exposure to toxic fuel and chemical fumes can lead to permanent lung damage and heart failure, as well as serious long-term health effects that can restrict a person’s normal breathing for many years, if not permanently.