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Slick Roads Challenge Hazardous Material Movers
While vehicles crashes are not always as severe as in other times of the year, their frequency goes up in the winter.

A tanker was involved in a crash last Saturday in Provo Canyon that spilled most of its 5,000-gallon load of crude oil. An estimated 1,000 gallons of oil made its way into the Provo River. The incident has raised concerns about the risks of transporting hazardous materials on Utah’s roads.

The crash occurred when the driver lost control on a particularly slick section of the road. John Gleason, a spokesperson with the Utah Department of Transportation, said that crashes in general tend to increase in frequency during the winter months.

“Typically, in the winter we do see the number of crashes across the state increase just because of those slick conditions,” Gleason said. “The severity of the crashes is not always as serious as some of the crashes we experience in the summer time—speeds are lower, people are traveling at a much slower pace—but the number of crashes does go up.”

Every vehicle carrying hazardous material must have an emergency contact number in case of an accident. Gleason said that private companies typically clean up spills. He said that, while there are no Utah-specific regulations regarding transportation of hazardous materials, state agencies do their part to enforce existing rules.

“All carriers that transport hazardous materials are required to follow numerous federal hazardous materials regulations. They are also subject to all of the safety regulations for commercial motor vehicles,” he said. “We don’t have any specific state rules here due to the fact that they adhere to those federal those federal mandates but we conduct random inspections just to make sure that the federal guidelines are being adhered to.”

Oil, fireworks, ammunition, household cleaning products, and even certain food substances fall under hazardous material regulations.