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Root causes of cargo tank rollovers

Statistics that have been compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regarding cargo tank rollover accidents in Florida and around the country show that they do not occur for the reasons that most people think that they do. The ideas that rollovers happen more in bad weather, on bad roads or to new drivers appear to be incorrect. Instead, mechanical defects and mistakes in loading seem to be the culprits in the majority of situations.

One statistic that will surprise many is that these rollovers do not appear to be caused by external conditions. The FMCSA statistics, based upon 2007 data, revealed that in that year, approximately 93 percent of all rollovers happened while the road conditions were clear and dry. More than half took place on straight sections of roads, outweighing curves and ramps combined, and only 33 percent happened at night.

The major cause of truck rollovers was found to be driver error. However, the causes of those errors appeared to be more complex. They often appeared to occur at the end of a chain of sequences, and the error occurred after some other urgent event in about 90 percent of the occasions. In fact, it seems that 54 percent of the trucks that rolled over were found to have some sort of problem with their braking system, and 63 percent of all rollovers happened with tanks that were only partially filled. It appears that the way that liquids can slosh around or surge from one side of the container to another can definitely increase the risk of a rollover.

Truck accidents of any nature can be extremely dangerous to those who are on the road at the same time, and the fact that many of these cargo tanks contain flammable materials only serves to increase the hazard. Those who have been injured in a rollover accident caused by the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company may want to speak with a personal injury attorney in order to determine how best to pursue compensation for the damages that have been incurred.

Source: FMCSA, "Cargo Tank Rollover", July 21, 2015

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