The first week of February saw three separate tractor-trailer accidents in the Ohio Valley, two of which required the deployment of hazmat teams to control toxic substances spilled during the crashes. The accidents have caused road closures and created hazardous conditions for other motorists and first responders.
One tractor-trailer was carrying propane when it wrecked on US 250, just one day after a water truck crashed in Marshall County. Propane leaked during the accident, resulting in a number of residents being forced to evacuate the area. A third accident, just days later, spilled hydrochloric acid, resulting in hours of delays for school buses and other motorists.
Big business means more trucks on the road
The accidents are taking a toll on Ohio and West Virginia residents alike. The increased activity resulting from the Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling operations may be good for the economy, but it’s creating dangerous conditions for drivers in both states. Mostly, the increased output means that more trucks are required to transport materials. More big rigs on the road means more risk.
Neffs Fire Department Chief, Mike Knowlton, told the Intelligencer Wheeling News Register that many of the accidents are the result of drivers’ unfamiliarity with Ohio and West Virginia roads. He said, “So many of the companies are from Texas. They aren’t used to roads with dips and sharp turns.”
Big rigs, by their very nature, are difficult to turn and stop. They can weigh in excess of 80,000 lbs and represent a significant amount of force on the road. When inexperienced drivers meet challenging conditions, the combination often spells disaster. While the accidents so far have mostly inconvenienced drivers, it’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt.
Some accidents are unavoidable
Defensive driving only goes so far. Accidents involving big rigs are often fatal. In 2014, the last year for which information is available, commercial trucks were responsible for 161 deaths and more than 7,000 injuries according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
When big trucks are on the road, awareness and precaution is key. Even the best drivers, however, are unable to avoid every obstacle. If you or someone you know has been injured in a commercial truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Our experienced Ohio truck accident lawyers can evaluate your case and help defend your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.