Over the course of his or her career, a trucker will transport all sorts of items and materials. The specter of an accident hangs over every trucker, and that’s made even clearer when they’re shipping hazardous materials from place to place. It’s certainly the most dangerous part of trucking, and a driver knows very well what’s at stake when moving these items. If the worst-case scenario occurs, it’s important to have an idea of what will happen. Not just in terms of the trucker’s career and vehicle, but who’s responsible for the cleanup.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA)’s tracking numbers, some 800,000 runs are made daily with hazardous materials. When combining both hazmat and regular runs, just fewer than 5,000 fatal crashes occurred per year. Four percent of those, roughly about 200 per year, involved hazardous materials. Obviously, truckers will know very well what they are carrying, so they will drive according to what he they know is in the back of the truck. A person would theoretically drive a little bit safer instead of trying to beat the deadline for a bonus. After all, the reverse is certainly something everyone wants to avoid.
The range of scenarios that can happen after an accident is fairly large and potentially difficult for all involved. The investigations can be long and emotionally troubling if people are hurt. The investigators know very well their jobs can be tough and draining, so they have to work lightly and professionally. There’s the fallout for the drivers, who could be unable to drive if their truck is damaged beyond affordable repair levels. Then there’s the litigious end game for a company that has a truck involved in a serious accident.
If there are people hurt or killed, their loved ones could take many different entities to court, such as the driver who was behind the wheel, particularly if it’s been proven that they were at fault. In some cases, they can be charged with negligence, which would certainly torpedo their chances of staying in the industry. Even if the lawsuit is judged to be baseless, the stigma attached could make it hard to find work behind the wheel for a long while. It’s certainly a sobering part of the industry that should never be forgotten, even for the most experienced drivers.