Any vehicle accident has the potential to lead to severe injuries, particularly those involving larger commercial vehicles. This is especially true for any crash involving an oil tanker or an incident involving an oil tanker explosion. Tanker trucks can weigh tens of thousands of pounds, and they have the added danger of carrying large amounts of hazardous material that can explode and catch fire. Oil tanker explosions can be caused by the brute force of the tanker truck striking another vehicle or fixed object. Additionally, these collisions can be caused by tanks that are overweight, bad muffler systems that ignite, faulty fuel tanks, and a plethora of other reasons.
Here, we want to discuss what you need to know about an oil tanker explosion, including how they occur.
A simple Google search of “oil tanker truck explosions” will pull up videos that show you the extreme dangers of these incidents. The reality is that oil tanker trucks play an integral role in ensuring that our economy flows smoothly and that we have the fuel that we need to conduct our day-to-day activities. However, these vehicles can lead to injuries and casualties on the roadway.
In general, crashes involving large commercial trucks are much more severe than a traditional vehicle versus vehicle collision. Information from the Federal Highway Administration indicates that some commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded with cargo.
Smaller tanker trucks in the US have a capacity of around 1,000 to 3,000 gallons of fuel or oil, while larger tanker trucks can carry as much as 11,600 gallons of fuel or oil.
The extreme weight and size of these vehicles mean that any collision could result in catastrophic injuries. However, the obvious added danger of these incidents is the explosion risk involved. Even though tanker trucks are meant to withstand significant impacts, a collision can still lead to an explosion that significantly increases the danger to drivers and passengers on the roadway as well as the truck driver.
Even though a commercial truck crash can be devastating, most incidents are cleaned up fairly quickly. In fact, it is not uncommon for the area around a large commercial truck crash to be completely cleared within a few hours. However, that is not necessarily the case with an oil tanker, particularly if a leak or explosion occurs.
When an oil tanker leaks as a result of a collision, this can result in inflammable and volatile fuel leaking out onto the ground around the crash. This can take crews hours, if not days, to completely clean up. Additionally, if an oil tanker catches fire or explodes, the sheer heat of the collision often melts the roadway underneath the area. There have been times when an oil tanker explosion caused so much damage to overhead bridges that the entire overpass had to be rebuilt.
Even if an oil tanker explosion does not cause direct injuries or fatalities, the economic costs can be tremendous. Shutting down a roadway not only affects those who need to get to and from their destinations, but it can also affect the entire supply chain of a particular area of the country.