Commercial trucks present special hazards to motorists and pedestrians on the roads. Trucks carrying hazardous materials (hazmat trucks) may even be carrying materials from other states. Trucks carrying such materials present an additional danger to Florida drivers.
Hazmat trucks may be carrying the following:
- Compressed gases like hydrogen gas
- Inflammable hazardous waste product
- Oils, Gasoline and Petroleum Products
- Radioactive materials
Federal & State Regulations for Trucks with Hazardous Materials
For most commercial trucks, federal regulations apply if the truck is engaged in interstate commerce, or the transportation of goods from one state to another, and state regulations apply if the truck is engaged in intrastate commerce, or commerce solely within one state. However, hazmat trucks are extremely dangerous. As such, they are regulated by the federal; Hazardous Materials Transportation Act. This act overrides most state regulations, unless state regulations are stricter.
The act applies not only to the trucks that transport the materials but also to the people, entities and businesses that pack, label, load, store and unload the materials. The regulations also govern where the trucks may park and the limited circumstances in which a hazmat truck may be left unattended. Haz-mat trucks must have accurate warning labels placed on the outside of the vehicle so other motorists and pedestrians can remain aware that the vehicle is carrying hazardous materials.
Furthermore, hazmat trucks are subject to strict regulations about where they can travel. The federal government has designated specific routes for haz-mat trucks. Things taken into consideration regarding these routes are:
- Population density
- Type of highway
- Types and quantities of non-radioactive hazardous material
- Emergency response capabilities
- Exposure and other risk factors
- Terrain considerations
- Continuity of routes
- Alternative routes
- Climatic conditions
- Congestion and accident history
Hazmat trucks present possibly the largest threat to motorists and pedestrians on the road today. For a good reason they are subject to a number of strict regulations imposed by the federal government.
Use Caution Around Hazmat Trucks
As with any vehicle, exercise caution when a hazmat truck is in sight. These should be recognizable because hazmat trucks are obligated to follow federal regulations on marking and indicating that the truck is carrying hazardous materials. Maintain a safe distance away from these vehicles when present.
Truck accidents involving commercial or hazmat trucks require an extensive knowledge of state and federal regulations that apply to trucks. A personal injury and truck accident attorney with experience can help fight for your rights and receive compensation for injuries or damages.