A deadly semi-SUV accident in Lenawee County has left two people dead and a leak of a hazardous chemical in the area. The deceased have yet to be named and details are forthcoming, but it appears a Chevy Tahoe collide with a semi truck carrying the hazardous chemical Toluene. The accident just northwest of Adrian, which killed the drivers of both vehicles, occurred Monday near US 223 and Burton Road.
Toluene is a derivative of benzene and is used as an industrial feedstock and solvent. It is colorless, water-insoluble liquid with a smell most people would associate with paint thinners. In low doses, it can cause confusion, nausea, memory loss, or other symptoms similar to drunkenness. In larger doses or with long-term exposure, Toluene can cause severe neurological damage or even death.
Officials did not order home evacuations due to the chemical release because they believe the mile distance to the next homes was sufficient for safety; however, the intersection was closed for several hours after the accident to allow for cleanup and investigation.
Semi Accidents Remain Lethal Reality of Our Roadways
We’ve discussed the deadly nature of semi accidents many times before. Unfortunately, no matter how many times we write about the dangers of these massive vehicles and the types of risks they pose to others on the road, the number of accidents is unlikely to decrease significantly. The risk of death, paralysis, brain injury, and other permanently disabling injuries will remain high. The reality is that a majority of semi accidents are caused by human error, whether it be driver error or failure to maintain the vehicle.
Hazardous materials accidents have the ability to cause injury or serious illness because of their capacity to spread quickly through the air or on ground. These materials can then ignite, explode, or cause short-term or long-term inhalation risks. HAZMAT traffic accidents remain largely preventable because their common causes are similar to those of regular semi truck accidents: improperly loaded or overloaded trucks, negligence of required maintenance, drowsy or distracted driving, and driving under the influence.
Hazardous Materials Trucks Held to Higher Standards
Substances classified as hazardous include those that are toxic, combustible, unstable, corrosive, explosive, or radioactive and those which may cause cancer, release dangerous dust or fumes, or otherwise cause health hazards. Due to the higher public safety risks, such truck and their drivers are held to different standards and more regulations than other kinds of semi trucks, including required and clearly visible placards indicating their HAZMAT status.
Though this requirement assists bystanders and first responders in recognizing the risks of hazardous materials in the case of an accident, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration can also use the placards to track fatal and non-fatal accidents. 4% of semis involved in fatal accidents were carrying hazardous materials that required a placard while 2% of trucks involved in non-fatal accidents had a hazardous materials placard.
If someone you love has been injured in semi accident, the tractor-trailer accident attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm are ready to help. HAZMAT semi accident can cause injury in an immediate way or in ways that will negatively affect your health some time down the road. Regardless of the type of injury or risk you have received, we urge you to call 1-800-LEE-FREE today for a free consultation.