Truck accidents cause numerous injuries and deaths each year in California and across the country. Most people might just consider the size and speed of the truck in large truck collisions. However, the load a truck is carrying might also be dangerous in an accident.
A recent crash near Goleta on Highway 101 illustrated this point. Authorities reported that a vehicle struck the center median of the highway and hit a tanker truck, which was traveling in the slow lane. The truck tipped over onto its side, spilling approximately 5,000 gallons of gasoline. A hazardous materials crew was required to clean up the mess, and portions of the roadway needed to be repaved, since the gas disintegrated the concrete in those areas.
Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured in the accident. However, it is simple to imagine what might have happened if a vehicle had become trapped beneath a major spill of gasoline, or if the gas had ignited. The damaged roadway may also cause a hazard, if crews fail to repair all the damage. One might think about other types of cargo that trucks routinely transport, which might injure others if the truck tips or the cargo falls out of the trailer. Oversized loads, steel construction bars, raw lumber and heavy machinery could present a crushing or impaling risk for those in smaller vehicles, as well as a hazardous materials risk if accident victims are exposed to waste products or toxic chemicals.
It may help prevent accidents to drive with caution around large trucks. Truck drivers and trucking companies should also be aware of the risks.
Source: Noozhawk, “Caltrans Repaves Section of Highway 101 Near Goleta After Tanker-Truck Crash, Gasoline Spill,” Giana Magnoli, Dec. 15, 2017