One of the most frightening sights on any highway, interstate or local road is an overturned truck. Especially in four-season states like Virginia, a semi truck accident is, unfortunately, a threat throughout the year. From slippery roads caused by thunderstorms to icy streets or slick autumn leaves, the danger of any vehicle spinning out of control is a frequent presence. Still, even more disturbing than the thought of a rollover is when it occurs to a truck is carrying hazardous materials.

Sometimes hazardous materials spills can be contained, even after a truck rollover, but often they are extremely dangerous. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has instituted several different regulations designed to keep both truck drivers and other drivers safe on the nation’s roads.

According to the FMCSA, in order to obtain a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit, a carrier must first achieve a safety rating at the level of “satisfactory.” Carriers must also register with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and have an adequate security program in place. In addition, carriers need to be outside the “worst 30 percent” of the nation’s average when it comes to the ratings of their drivers, vehicles, and crashes. Finally, carriers must have in place a system of communicating whereby drivers can contact their carriers during their routes. Written documentation of these communications must also be a part of the program.

For carriers who transport radioactive materials, additional steps must be taken. Carriers are required to have a written route plan for materials that are either radioactive or explosive. Moreover, they must conduct inspections prior to trips for trucks transporting Class 7 materials.

Carriers who do not follow these regulations run the risk of conducting business in a negligent manner. In addition to the above hazardous materials rules, there are countless additional safety regulations that must be followed by both truck drivers and their employers. Those who have been involved in any sort of damaging commercial vehicle accident can learn from their attorneys if these and other regulations were violated; if so, victims may be entitled to significant compensation.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “What are carriers required to do to obtain and keep a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit?” accessed Sept. 6, 2014