Tanker trucks are large commercial vehicles designed to move bulk quantities of oil, gas, or other liquid petroleum products. Instead of the regular tractor-trailer behind the cab of the truck, tankers are typically cylindrical-shaped and sometimes pressurized or insulated – depending on what type of cargo they are carrying. Because tankers tend to transport hazardous or flammable materials, being involved in a collision with a tanker can result in serious injury.
North Dakota especially relies on the oil industry for jobs and to keep the economy thriving. However, transporting oil and natural gas back and forth is a dangerous undertaking, especially when truck drivers are fatigued, careless, or inexperienced. Accidents with oil tanker trucks can quickly turn catastrophic due to their hazardous cargo.
Who can drive oil tanker trucks?
To operate a commercial truck or tractor-trailer, drivers must hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL). However, a CDL only lets a driver haul dry goods and cargo. To haul liquid, gaseous, or hazardous materials, a driver is required to have what’s called a “tanker endorsement,” and if a trucker hauling these materials doesn’t have one, they are breaking the law. Truckers must obtain a tanker endorsement under the following conditions:
- Cargo includes liquid or gaseous individual containers larger than 119 gallon capacity
- Containers are loaded (not empty)
- Total combined volume in those containers exceeds 1,000 gallons
When a trucker hauls hazardous materials, they must also submit to background checks and fingerprinting. Truckers caught transporting this type of cargo without a tanker endorsement can face financial penalties and loss of license – the law takes this seriously because crashes with these vehicles can cause not only serious injuries, but cargo spills, fires, and even explosions.
Injuries from oil tanker truck crashes
Collisions with tanker trucks are dangerous to every person and every vehicle in the vicinity. As we already know, any crash with a tractor-trailer can cause serious injury, especially when you are in a smaller vehicle, like a car or SUV. A passenger vehicle will never win in a collision with a truck or tanker. Injuries from collisions with commercial trucks can include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and wrongful death.
Tanker trucks, however, come with an entirely new set of risks. Being involved in or near a wreck with an oil or gas truck can result in scenarios like:
- Explosions. Volatile gases can explode in the event of an accident – not unlike a bomb. When a tanker truck explodes, it can send shrapnel and fire flying everywhere in the immediate vicinity of the blast, causing fires and burn injuries.
- Toxic chemicals. When a tanker rolls over and spills its cargo, toxic fumes can sicken everyone in the area, even neighboring communities. People in the vicinity of the accident scene may suffer burns from inhaling toxic gases.
- Cargo spills. Even when a collision does not result in a toxic or flammable release of cargo, a spill can still make a road surface slick and slippery, causing a chain reaction of related crashes.
The truck accident attorneys at Larson Law Firm, P.C. protect injury victims. When you or a loved one were injured due to the negligence of another, we can help you seek compensation for your losses. To arrange a free consultation, call us in Minot or Bismarck today at 701.484.HURT or complete our contact form.
Mark Larson is a Certified Civil Trial Specialist and Certified Civil Pre-Trial Specialist focusing on personal injury, motor vehicle, wrongful death, and oil field claims. Since 1979, Larson Law Firm has served the injured throughout North Dakota. Read more about Mark V. Larson