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Trucking companies and hazardous loads in Illinois

Trucking companies and hazardous loads in Illinois


The Illinois Department of Transportation reports a slow but steady increase in the number of serious accidents including large trucks, with 874 crashes taking place in 2012 alone.

Many of these trucking accidents involve hazardous cargo. Every Illinois trucking company and employee should be aware of the dangers posed by transporting hazardous loads.

Risks are compounded by transporting hazardous goods

Driving an 18-wheeler is a dangerous job even in the best conditions. When hazardous materials are added to the mix, a single mistake can result in lost lives or millions of dollars in damage. The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a recent accident in which 51-year-old James Mosqueda, transporting over 8,000 gallons of gasoline in his tanker truck, lost control of the vehicle and created a fire that destroyed a major freeway overpass in Oakland. Other truckers have caused multiple fatalities or environmental damage by driving unsafely with hazardous loads. Severe weather in Illinois can make the state an especially dangerous place to transport risky materials.

Hazardous materials come in many different forms

Materials do not have to be flammable to be considered hazardous. Illinois transportation law considers all of the following substances to be hazardous in any quantity:

  • Radioactive materials
  • Infectious agents
  • Oxidizers and organic peroxides
  • Poisons
  • Corrosive materials

Trucking companies must be aware of the dangers of working with these materials, even in small amounts or over short distances.

The nationwide toll taken by hazardous materials

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 49,084 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents or injury accidents in the year 2008. More than one in 50 of these deaths and injuries can be traced to the effects of improper loading or mishandling of hazardous materials. This translates to over 1,000 casualties in America in one single year.

Making changes for better transport in Illinois

In an effort to cut down on the national trend of fatalities, injuries, highway closures and environmental threats, the Illinois DOT is making an effort to educate truckers and other motorists about the dangers of transporting hazardous materials on the road. Some of the new measures being taken include better load labeling and tighter regulations for hazardous materials endorsements on Illinois licenses. By following strict safety practices and being aware of statistics, it is possible to decrease the damage caused by hazmat accidents. To find out more about managing the risks for your trucking company, consider getting in touch with a local transportation attorney.

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