Hazardous Material Leaks After Truck Accident On SR33

Truck Accidents

Four vehicles, including two semi-trucks, were involved in an accident on SR that resulted in a leaking hazardous materials container on January 3, 2017.  The accident happened at approximately 4:10 p.m. between two semi-trucks, a pickup, and an SUV.  The accident scene was located approximately 10 miles north of Deen Still Road and just south of the border with Lake County.  The roadway was closed for several hours.  The accident caused damage to several hazardous waste containers with one of them leaking.  Approximately 20-30 gallons of diesel spilled on the roadway.  Further details from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office are not yet available.

“HazMat” Permit Required

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires a trucking company to obtain a permit (Hazardous Materials Safety Permit, or HMSP) prior to transporting the following hazardous materials:

  1. A highway route-controlled quantity of a Class 7 (radioactive) material;
  2. More than 25 kg (55 pounds) of a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (explosive) material or an amount of a Division 1.5 (explosive) material requiring placarding under 49 CFR 172;
  3. More than one liter (1.08 quarts) per package of a “material poisonous by inhalation,” that meets the criteria for “hazard zone A”;
  4. A “material poisonous by inhalation,” that meets the criteria for “hazard zone B,” in a bulk packaging (capacity greater than 460 L (119 gallons));
  5. A “material poisonous by inhalation,” that meets the criteria for “hazard zone C,” or “hazard zone D,” in a packaging having a capacity equal to or greater than 13,248 L (3,500 gallons); or
  6. A shipment of compressed or refrigerated liquefied methane or liquefied natural gas, or other liquefied gas with a methane content of at least 85 percent, in a bulk packaging having a capacity equal to or greater than 13,248 L (3,500 gallons).

A trucking company carrying hazardous materials on its trucks must ensure or engage in the following:

  • Appropriate shipping documents
  • Placard on outside of vehicle and other appropriate markings
  • Carefully loading or unloading the container
  • Compatibility with other freight
  • Blocking and bracing to avoid shifting of the load
  • Reporting of incidents
  • Security plan
  • Training of employees for emergency situations

Adequately Tied Down Containers Should Not Be Susceptible To Damage, Even In An Accident

Unless a semi-truck is involved in a catastrophic accident, the hazmat load should be adequately tied down so that the containers do not shift during transit or during an accident.  In this particular accident, the trailer appears to be intact but the pallets of hazardous waste must have come loose and collided with each other.  The leak resulted from damage to the container sustained in the accident.  This situation should be preventable if the pallet is secured and a strap is placed over the hazmat container to protect against the pallet breaking in an accident.

Call A Lakeland Truck Accident Lawyer To Discuss Your Case

If you have been injured in a truck accident in Polk County, you should contact a Lakeland truck accident attorney for a free case evaluation.  We can tell you whether your case is collectible and from which sources of recovery.  If you were on the job or were in a commercial vehicle at the time of the accident, your case has some additional twists that are not found in run of the mill car accident cases.  Call us for help with your case today.

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