This week, the National Transportation Safety Board held a hearing to determine what needs to be done to prevent tanker trucks that carry hazardous materials from rolling over. The meeting comes nine months after a tanker rollover accident on I-465 last October that caused a massive fireball, destroyed a bridge column, and injured four people, including the tanker driver. The truck was hauling almost 12,000 gallons of liquefied petroleum.
Because cargo tanker trucks are designed with high gravity centers, they have a higher rollover risk than other vehicles. This can prove catastrophic-especially when the truck is transporting hazardous materials.
Consider that 31% of fatal commercial truck rollovers involve tanker trucks. Currently, however, the federal government does not require that manufacturers build trucks with lower gravity centers.
Our Boston tanker truck accident lawyers believe that anything that can be done to prevent such dangerous traffic crashes from happening is a positive step toward saving lives. It is important that Massachusetts truck crash victims realize that they have legal options that can allow them to receive compensation from negligent parties.
According to the NTSB, driver error is responsible for 78% of cargo truck accidents. The safety board is trying to determine whether electronic stability systems, like those required in newer cars, would prevent tanker truck rollovers. Sensors could let a truck’s onboard computer know when the weight is about to change and the brakes would automatically activate until balance was be restored. This could be especially helpful when trucks are driving too fast as they make their way around a curve or are entering or exiting a highway ramp. Approximately 1,260 cargo tanker rollovers occur each year.
It was just last month that the federal government lifted Boston’s temporary ban on hazmat trucks. They can now travel through the city’s North End. While the route should get the trucks through the city faster, some residents are concerned that such hazardous loads are making their way through the area. The city and state are hoping to get a permanent ban in place.
NTSB probes rollovers by hazmat tanker trucks, AP, August 3, 2010
Cause of tanker blast that shut I-465 studied, IndyStar, August 5, 2010
Hazmat Trucks Allowed Again In Boston’s North End, WBZ, July 1, 2010
Related Web Resources:
National Transportation Safety Board