The recent tragic train derailment in Ohio captured the nation’s attention, shining a spotlight on the need for stricter train regulations. While train accidents involving hazardous materials undeniably have serious implications, there’s a different form of transportation that’s been quietly posing a more significant risk: trucks.
The unfortunate truck accident outside Tucson, Arizona, involved a vehicle loaded with nitric acid. It took a life, released harmful chemicals into the air, and disrupted life for many by closing down Interstate 10 and necessitating neighborhood evacuations. Yet, it didn’t garner the national uproar one might expect.
The Unseen Danger: Trucking Hazmat Incidents
Federal data unveils a concerning reality: truck incidents involving hazardous materials far outnumber those involving trains. To add context:
- Trucks are responsible for over 16 times more fatalities involving hazardous materials between 1975 and 2021.
- Trucks caused nearly three times as much property damage as rail incidents since 2000.
Given that trucks transport the majority of hazardous materials in the U.S., the frequency and severity of these accidents demand more significant attention.
The Regulatory Discrepancy
Historically, shipping hazardous materials in the U.S. has been regulated for over a century and a half. However, recent incidents, like the Ohio train derailment, have spurred debates around more strict regulations for rail transportation, leaving trucking regulations in the shadows.
While Ohio’s governor proposes increased transparency with rail companies, and activists lobby for advanced braking systems for trains, we must ask: What about trucks?
Trucks vs. Trains: A Matter of Proximity
Rail accidents involving hazardous materials, albeit significant, often occur in remote areas, minimizing the potential impact on human life. Trucks, conversely, navigate our busiest roads and urban centers. Every incident puts countless lives at risk, not just from the immediate accident but from the potential release of toxic chemicals.
The Way Forward
As a law firm specializing in personal injury, we at OnderLaw believe that while it’s essential to address rail transportation’s safety concerns, it’s even more pressing to confront the clear and present dangers posed by hazardous materials transported via our highways.
Enhanced regulations, improved trucking infrastructure, and a comprehensive approach to the transportation of hazardous materials are needed. Our roads are the arteries of our nation, and the safety of its travelers must be paramount.
It’s time for lawmakers to see the larger picture. Trucking accidents involving hazardous materials may not always make national headlines, but their frequency and impact demand national attention and action.
Remember: When it comes to hazardous material transportation, the issue is not just about the mode but the safety measures in place. Let’s prioritize the safety of our roads and the well-being of every American traveler. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, contact OnderLaw today for your free, no-obligation consultation.