Hazardous Travel

By: Tamara Evans
By: Tamara Evans

On Thursday evening there was a tanker fire on I-65 that shut down the interstate for at least four hours and cleared nearby residents out of their homes.

That's because the tanker was carrying a chemical called Methyl Methacrylate Monomer that is toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

Luckily the chemical didn't catch fire.

You may be surprised to know though just how often these hazardous materials are on our roadways.

bob myatt is the chairman for Warren County's Local Emegency Planning Committee (LEPC) and says trucks carrying hazardous materials hit our roadways daily.

In fact, LEPC along with a class at Western Kentucky University did a study on this back in 1999 where they found on a daily basis there were around 450 trucks total on the interstate and Natcher Parkway carrying hazardous materials.

"It's out there, it's on our streets and on our roads on a daily basis. Alot of the chemicals that are out there are highly explosive, highly flammable, and alot are very toxic", says Myatt.

Since that survey the number of drivers on the road carrying this material has gone up.

Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement officers at the weigh station in Franklin, Kentucky say they see nearly 111,000 tractor-trailer trucks a month and a quarter of those are carrying hazardous materials.

That's around 900 trucks a day on our roadways with hazardous materials.

"Trucks alone are dangerous with the fact they have so much diesel fuel in them and once the fuel catches fire you've got the added cargo problem that could be pretty serious then", says truck driver Martin Milliron.

Martin Milliron has been driving a tractor-trailer for almost fourteen years and says he carries hazardous materials nearly 40 to 50 times a year.

He says many drivers on the road don't realize the the type of materials many truck drivers carry.

"Automobiles will drive alongside of us and stay there and we can't get back over or out of their way. It's a pretty serious problem. they need to be more aware", says Milliron.

That's because these trucks could be carrying hazardous chemicals .

The Department of Transportation requires a diamond placard on any vehicle carrying a hazardous material with a number on it.

That number tells first responders just what materials they're going to be dealing with.

It also tells other drivers to be careful.

Iif they see a vehicle with that diamond placard, it's on all four sides of the vehicle, then they should be very cautious around that vehicle and trying to pass that vehicle", says Myatt.

Myatt says you should be careful not to approach an accident with a truck that has a diamond placard on it.

If you do come up on one of these accidents call 911 or first responders to let them know the number on the placard.

They have a system that lets them type in this number to let them know not only what chemical they're dealing with but also how to deal with it in a safe manner.


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