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 isnâ€™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 materialsâ€”mostly flammable liquidsâ€”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 nearbyâ€”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 Yearsâ€™ 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 â€śmajorâ€ť 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 didnâ€™t spill its load: 77,000 pounds of tomatoes.
A tractor trailer on an Ohio highway wasnâ€™t so lucky, however. On Jan. 4, he lost control of his truck and spilled bottles of Gatorade on I-71.