Trucks carrying regular goods can cause significant harm due to the vehicle’s massive size and weight. However, hauling hazardous materials or “hazmat” can be far more dangerous and requires extra layers of caution.
A hazmat can be any chemical or object in solid, liquid or gas form often transported for distribution or disposal. When these volatile substances spill onto the road, it can lead to fatal accidents.
Thus, learning about hazmat classes and their potential dangers can guide the trucking community to improve safety procedures that can prevent deadly crashes.
Georgia’s hazmat rules and regulations involve extensive considerations on proper training, operation, licensing, certification, storage, labeling and handling of the following items as classified by the Department of Transportation.
- Explosives: Dynamites, hand grenades, fireworks and blasting agents
- Gases: Oxygen generators, or chlorine, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia gases
- Flammable and combustible liquids: Gasoline, fuel oil, paints and perfumes
- Flammable solids: Gun powder, match sticks, desensitized explosives and barium metals
- Oxidizers: Potassium nitrate, benzoyl and hydrogen peroxide, and ammonium nitrate fertilizers
- Poisonous or toxic substances: Arsenic, nicotine, pesticides and infectious wastes
- Radioactive materials: Uranium, plutonium, nuclear fuels and other unstable isotopes
- Corrosives: Lead batteries, and nitric, hydrochloric or sulfuric acids
- Miscellaneous hazards: Carcinogens, specific dyes, lithium batteries and elevated temperature substances
Knowing these hazmat classes can help freight companies secure documentation and observe compliance applicable to their shipment.
Despite knowing hazmat classes, negligent hazmat trucking, such as speeding, distracted driving or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, still happens and results in truck collisions with the following risks:
- Physical: Fires, burns or explosions
- Health: Inhalation of toxins or irritants causing skin, respiratory and other chronic conditions
- Environmental: Road destruction, water contamination or wildlife disruption
Involved drivers and passengers must urgently evacuate the area to avoid these threats. If available, they must also wear protective gear. Once in a safe location, they need to call for medical attention and report the incident to the police.
While inherently dangerous, hazardous materials play a crucial part in human lives. Their vast uses range from fueling cars to disinfecting homes. Thus, truck drivers and their companies have a vital role in delivering hazmat to their destinations in a way aligned with state and federal laws. Unfortunately, despite utmost care, crashes still occur. When they do, injured parties can work with a legal team to protect their rights. Doing so can also help recover financial relief from liable parties.