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How does New Jersey enforce hazardous material truck regulations?

Our state is blessed with a central location along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. This means that critical roadways connecting many of the nation's largest cities run through New Jersey. Roads like the Garden State Pkwy., New Jersey Turnpike, Routes 3 and 46 ensure that the Garden State gets more than its fair share of commercial tractor-trailer traffic.

Although the high volume of truck traffic generates revenue for the state, that circulation of commercial traffic can also have some unfortunate consequences for other motorists. This is especially true when vehicles hauling hazardous materials crash or overturn along New Jersey's roadways. Currently, the New Jersey State Police are responsible for overseeing the transportation of hazardous materials throughout the state. State police hold truck drivers and the companies that employ them accountable to the rules and regulations set forth by the United States Department of Transportation.

It's important for New Jersey motorists to know that these guidelines are actually contained in federal law under Title 49 CFR, 100 – 185. Among other things, the law regarding the transportation of hazardous materials requires truck drivers to adhere to a comprehensive set of rules. Things like making sure that hazardous materials are properly marked and placing placards on their vehicles are essential to helping New Jersey first responders appropriately manage spills when these vehicles get into accidents along our roadways.

If you have been injured by a truck transporting hazardous materials, it's likely that your attorney will look to see if the truck responsible for your accident was operating in accordance with both state and federal regulations. It's possible that your attorney may discover that a truck driver or trucking company improperly placed you at risk of unreasonable harm by failing to adhere to appropriate safety standards. This may be important because a truck company's insurers may prefer to settle your claim rather than going to trial when presented with that evidence.

Source: State of New Jersey Department of Transportation, "Trucking Hazardous Materials," accessed May. 26, 2015

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