Minnesota motorists may be aware of the potential danger of rollovers involving tanker trucks that are transporting petroleum or other flammable materials. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are more than 1,300 of these accidents around the country every year.
The cargo that is being hauled can compound the seriousness of an accident. However, there are misconceptions as to the common causes of these types of rollover accidents. Unlike some other motor vehicle accidents, speeding, careless driving, inexperience on the part of the driver or road conditions are not the main causes of these types of rollovers.
According to FMCSA statistics, speeding involves 28 percent of cargo tanker accidents, while careless driving, such as maneuvering to avoid another vehicle, accounts for 10 percent or less. Another misconception is that these rollovers mostly occur during bad weather, at night or on curved sections of road. Nearly 70 percent of tank carrier rollovers occur along straight stretches and about 66 percent occur during the daylight hours. Accidents in normal driving conditions account for 93 percent.
Experience does not seem to affect the rate of cargo tank rollovers, according to the FMCSA. In two-thirds of the accidents involving rollovers of cargo tanks, the drivers had been working in that job capacity for over 10 years. Leaving the road unintentionally was the leading cause of rollovers and believed to be due to inattention or drowsiness on the part of the driver. Bad brakes and hauling partial loads that cause sloshing, resulting in an imbalance in the load, contributed to these mishaps as well.
An individual who has been injured in a rollover accident caused by a negligent driver may be subject to high medical bills and may be forced to miss work for an extended period of time. An attorney may be able to assist an injured victim by reviewing accident reports and then filing a lawsuit seeking damages from the responsible party.