The driver of a truck hauling wastewater runoff from a landfill was killed this month when his vehicle rolled over as it approached an intersection on Route 702 near McKenna. Although there was heavy fog at the time, officials did not know whether it contributed to the accident, according to news reports. A state trooper at the scene said the driver may have overcorrected when he approached the intersection, causing the truck to roll over. About 3,000 gallons of wastewater spilled at the scene, bringing officials of the state Department of Ecology and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the site. The stepson of the 49-year-old driver was in a vehicle following the truck and witnessed the accident.
Washington State Commercial Truck Accidents
As sad as the loss of the truck driver’s life is, the accident could have been worse if it had involved other vehicles. Tractor-trailers are inherently dangerous given their size and weight. Considering that an average passenger vehicle weighs about 4,000 pounds and a loaded tractor-trailer can 80,000 pounds, it is easy to see how a collision with a tractor-trailer can produce serious, even fatal, injuries for the occupants of a passenger vehicle.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were approximately 8.5 million large trucks registered across the United States in 2005 (the latest year for which statistics are available). That year, 5,212 people lost their lives and 114,000 people were injured in accidents involving large trucks. In the State of Washington alone, 57 trucks were involved in fatal accidents in 2005.
Commercials trucks hauling hazardous materials add an extra layer of concern for other motorists and nearby residents. A truck driver must obtain a special endorsement to legally haul any type of hazardous materials. Although flammable liquids, such as diesel fuel or gasoline, are the most common types of hazardous materials hauled by these trucks, other types of loads are also classified as hazardous materials. Each day, about 800,000 trucks carry hazardous shipments on the roadways across America. While only about 5 percent of all large truck crashes involve hazardous materials shipments, a collision with one of these trucks can prove deadly. The risk of fire or explosion, exposure to toxic chemicals, and contamination of groundwater are among the concerns when a truck carrying hazardous materials is involved in a collision.
Consult an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
A collision with a commercial vehicle is likely to leave a victim with serious, even life-threatening injuries. If you have been involved in a Washington State collision with a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle and you believe that the other vehicle was at fault, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Only an experienced truck accident attorney can evaluate your case and determine what legal options you may have to recover compensation for your physical and emotional injuries as well as your property damage and lost wages. The Washington State truck accident attorneys at Mariano Morales Law can help. Contact the team today by calling 866-972-0493 or by using our online contact form for your free initial consultation.