How many hazardous material trucking accidents in Oklahoma will it take for people to take notice? That number appears to be 81.
One such accident occurred in March. A tanker truck carrying 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel struck a vehicle driven by a Piedmont High School student. Although no one was injured, both vehicles were in flames, shutting down traffic and filling the air with smoke that stretched across miles.
So far in 2011, Oklahoma has seen 81 hazardous material accidents on the road-and the year is only half over. Despite the increased dangers in these types of accidents, only one person has been recorded injured-but the damage has cost over $800,000.
Most spills involve simple combustible liquids such as gasoline, but there are more than a few carrying significantly dangerous cargo. For instance, The Department of Energy regularly ships radioactive material, and others may haul explosives, methane or even poisonous gases by simply filling out a form.
But according to Oklahoma City Fire Captain David Record, the federal government is exempt from disclosing its cargo to safety officers.
“We don’t ever know what they’re hauling…it could be anywhere from nothing to nuclear warheads,” one official said.