Accidents involving tractor-trailers are particularly dangerous because the trucks weight more many times more than any vehicle most of us will ever drive. But size isn’t the only thing that makes semi trucks a danger on the road.
Nearly a decade ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said more than 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials—mostly flammable liquids—are carried on American roadways each day. That number is likely higher now.
When a truck crashes, so does whatever cargo it holds. When a truck rolls over on its side, so does its cargo. When a tank of gasoline or other hazardous material spills onto on open roadway, it poses a danger to all drivers nearby—not simply the occupants of the semi truck and any other vehicles involved in the collision.
Some are simply a hassle that requires closing a road or highway down for clean-up. Others can send dangerous pieces of cargo toward other cars.
Below is just a small sampling of recent spills and hazardous messes left in the wake of tractor-trailer crash.
- On Jan. 10, a tractor trailer unleashed 11 tons of fertilizer on a Pennsylvania highway.
- On New Years’ Eve, an Oklahoma interstate was closed in one direction when a semi truck flipped and dumped oil piping across the roadway. Luckly, no other drivers were hurt.
- Less than a month ago, a tractor-trailer overturned on a busy New Jersey highway ramp, spilling diesel fuel and dumping a load of scrap metal.
- Last month, a wreck on I-20 in Alabama caused a “major” fuel leak that required an emergency response.
Now on to a more light-hearted note. A few weeks ago, drivers on I-95 in Virginia were spared what would have been not exactly toxic, but certainly messy, when an overturned truck didn’t spill its load: 77,000 pounds of tomatoes.
A tractor trailer on an Ohio highway wasn’t so lucky, however. On Jan. 4, he lost control of his truck and spilled bottles of Gatorade on I-71.