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Tanker trucks can pose serious threat to Alaska motorists

Alaskans are probably quite familiar with the sight of tanker trucks on the roads. These massive vehicles travel across the state carrying fuel and other types of liquefied cargo. In many cases, these trucks arrive safely at their destination, as do all the other motorists sharing the road.

Sadly, this doesn't always happen. As is the case with any commercial vehicle, tanker trucks are at risk for tipping when operators lose control of them. If and when this happens, the consequences can be catastrophic.

Already this year, two tanker-truck accidents have occurred in Alaska. Most recently, a truck rolled over and spilled diesel on the Richardson Highway. Thankfully, the spill was minor and no one was injured.

In other cases, unfortunately, the damage is far more serious. When these massive trucks skid, jackknife or topple over, they can very easily destroy smaller vehicles in their path. The drivers and passengers inside those vehicles can be crushed and often suffer life-changing injuries, from brain trauma to severe spinal cord damage. Many people do not survive these accidents.

There can also be very serious damage caused by spilled cargo. Oftentimes, tanker-trucks are hauling materials that are not safe for people or the environment. If the cargo spills, it could create a serious health hazard for people in the area.

Considering all the destruction that can result from a tanker-truck accident, it is critical that they are properly maintained and operated only by skilled, licensed and safe drivers. If these things do not happen, trucking companies and/or drivers can and should be held accountable for any damage suffered in a crash involving a dangerous truck or driver.

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