Investigation: Semis transporting chemicals through Houston

Heavy trucks are a daily sight on the highways circling and passing through Houston. Just the size of these vehicles poses a threat to others on the road since they need more space to maneuver in and more time to stop. Drivers who are caught up in traffic may become innocent victims of truckers who are not paying attention or are driving in a reckless manner. If the trucks are carrying hazardous chemicals, the results can even be more disastrous.

According to federal and state law, trucking companies that are transporting dangerous material must have a written plan with a specific route that the trucks will take. Yet, in spite of this, companies often fail to have this in place. A new investigation also shows that there is often little done in the way of punishing companies that break the rules. As a result, it is not uncommon for a truck carrying hazardous chemicals to drive down narrow streets, through tunnels or even through areas of the city that have a heavy population.

This kind of disregard has left many people in Houston at risk for exposure or death if a truck accident occurs, and it is a greater problem than people may think. For example, every day on Interstate 45, researchers found that hazardous materials were on about 468 trucks in a five-year-old study. Adding to the concern is the fact that the city has not monitored the situation and it has been years since an update has been conducted on the current designated route. Currently, hazardous chemicals has led to more evacuations, injuries and deaths in the state than anywhere else in the country.

An unexpected truck accident often renders victims with serious injuries that leave them unable to work. Additionally, they may struggle with ongoing complications as well as mental and physical pain. It may be in their best interest to meet with an attorney who is experienced in handling such matters.

Source: Houston Chronicle, “Chemical Breakdown: Bad mix: Risky cargo in dense areas,” Susan Carroll and Matt Dempsey, Nov. 13, 2016

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