tanker truck accident

Things You Should Know About Tanker Truck Accidents

Tanker truck accidents happen on a daily basis. Unlike your standard truck accident, tanker trucks transport a wide range of goods. Tankers carry everything from consumables to explosive substances and these are the things you should know about tanker truck accidents.

What is a Tanker Truck?

Tanker trucks are vehicles responsible for transporting a wide variety of liquid substances.

These vehicles can haul dry goods and liquid gasses, but the majority of tankers haul food-grade liquids or chemicals. Making oneself aware of the things to know about tanker truck accidents can help one to know what to do if one finds themselves in such a situation on the road.

Tanker truck on the road

Types of Cargo in Tanker Trucks

Many tanker trucks are used to transport gasoline and diesel to gas stations, but there are also tanker trucks that haul a wide variety of materials such as the following:

  • Tanker Truck Food Cargo
  • Grain and flour
  • Milk and other liquid dairy products
  • Wine, beer, and other spirits
  • Food grade oils
  • Animal fat
  • Corn syrup
  • Fruit juices
  • Chocolate
  • Sugar alcohols
  • Tanker Truck Non-food Cargo
  • Gasoline and other petroleum derivatives
  • Ethanol
  • Oil and tar
  • Sand
  • Acids and other corrosives
  • Dyes and paints
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Radioactive compounds such as ores and isotopes
  • Peroxides and other oxidizing substances

Elements of Tanker Truck Accidents


A truck might be carrying flammable materials, but food-grade trucks that are pressurized with oxygen can also burst into flame during a tanker truck crash.


A high-impact tank truck crash can easily throw a spark that can ignite highly flammable and combustible substances, meaning that explosions might also occur during a tanker truck accident.

Leaks and spills

Hazardous materials can put other motorists at risk when toxic fumes leak into the air. Non-hazardous spillage can cause a mess that leads to surrounding vehicles trying to avoid the spill, which can result in a multiple-vehicle pileup.

Sloshing movement

Tankers who are not carrying a full load risk being in an accident caused by sloshing, which is the movement of the liquid within the tank. Sloshing often occurs when drivers go around corners too quickly, suddenly stop, or make any other quick movement.

When the load shifts, the center of gravity within the truck also shifts, making it more difficult for a driver to control, which can lead to a dangerous tanker truck accident.

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Causes of Tanker Truck Accidents

Many truck accidents, including tanker crashes, are caused by negligent driver behavior and negligent trucking company behavior.

Causes of tanker truck accidents include:

Distracted driving

The many distractions that can cause a tanker accident today include the following:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Personal grooming
  • Adjusting climate controls
  • Adjusting radios
  • Daydreaming
  • Use of a cellular telephone

Driving under the influence

With the already established high risks associated with tanker trucks, the danger factor increases greatly with the addition of any substance abuse. Impaired drivers can easily swerve or fail to properly judge time and distance, which can cause a severe tanker trucker accident.

Driving when tired

Truck drivers, including tanker truck drivers, have demanding schedules and some truck drivers must drive overnight, which can lead to drowsiness and full-blown fatigue. Fatigued drivers can easily fall asleep at the wheel and cause severe accidents.

Poor maintenance

Each truck must have regular safety inspections, and preventative maintenance, and cannot go on the road if they have broken parts. A mechanical failure can cause a driver to lose control of the tanker and faulty parts on the tank can cause dangerous spillage, especially when the truck contents consist of hazardous chemicals.

Common Tanker Truck Accident Injuries

Those involved in tanker truck accidents may experience one of the following injuries:

  • Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries.
  • Severe whiplash and soft tissue injuries.
  • Deep lacerations.
  • Back injuries.
  • Crushed bones and multiple fractures.
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage.
  • Spinal cord injuries.
  • Amputations.
  • Severe burns.
  • Smoke inhalation.
  • Chemical burns.
  • Radiation exposure.

What should one do after a Tanker Truck Accident?

When involved in a tanker truck accident, the most important thing one can do is get the recommended medical treatment. Opening an insurance claim is next on the list, even if the crash was not the individual’s fault, one needs to contact their own car insurance company and open a claim.

As truck crash cases are complex, it is recommended that one does not give a recorded statement without speaking to a truck crash lawyer.

One can also file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who caused the accident or the company that the tanker truck driver worked for. This will allow one to seek compensation for injuries and damages suffered.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Tanker Truck Accident

Can Tanker Trucks Explode?

Explosions can occur if the cargo within the tanker truck reacts with heat or elements in the air.

Are Tanker Trucks Safe?

Tanker trucks pose many risks to others on the road, because of their often dangerous cargo. Many states take steps to ensure that tanker trucks are monitored and that drivers are properly qualified to haul the tanker’s contents. All trucks must be inspected before getting on the road and regular maintenance must be applied.

Which trucking company has the highest amount of accidents?

FedEx Ground recorded 80 fatal truck accidents between April 2020 and April 2022, making them the trucking company with the highest percentage of accidents.

Recommended Article: Truck Accident Settlements and Verdicts

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