Causes of cargo tank rollovers

While the 1,300 or more cargo tank rollovers that occur each year might not seem like a big deal compared to other accident statistics, incidents involving large trucks are important as they can cause serious damage. Cargo tank rollovers are especially noteworthy because these commercial vehicles sometimes carry oil, gasoline and other hazardous materials, which means accidents involving cargo trucks in Pennsylvania and other states can harm people and the environment.

Icy, slick roads often mean trouble for passenger vehicles, but cargo tanks are not significantly affected by road and weather conditions. Statistics provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration based on 2007 data reveal tht only 4 percent of rollovers involving a single vehicle in that year were caused by environmental factors or dangerous roads. Most rollovers happened in daylight on straight, dry roads.

If roads and weather conditions do not influence cargo tank rollovers, then one might assume cargo truck drivers are responsible for most accidents. Drivers can contribute to these accidents but not for the reasons people might assume. Speed played a role in only 28 percent of cargo tank accidents, but 78 percent of accidents did involve driving errors. These errors might be caused by improper turning or drifting out of a lane and could be the result of inattention or drowsiness. Rollovers can usually be prevented if a driver is focused and alert.

Some truck accidents occur because of a commercial driver's mistake, but a problem with the vehicle itself may also arise. In 2007, 63 percent of accidents took place when trucks did not have the proper load amounts while brake defects existed in 54 percent of rollovers. When accidents occur because of a driver's negligence, an injured victim may want to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court with the assistance of an attorney. In cases where truck driver fatigue relating to driving more consecutive hours than is legally permitted is the cause, the attorney may recommend naming the trucking company as an additional defendant.

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