Residents in towns along the
Observers blame the wrecks on factors such as warming winters that increasingly glaze roads with ice, plus less highway maintenance amid
But double-tanker-truck traffic is also up since 2009, when state regulators required that ultra-low sulfur diesel be trucked to the
In 2005, major
But in 2007,
Ultra-low sulfur diesel has been produced in
Many of the rollovers have occurred on the
There have been crashes with fuel spills on the
Truck accidents with spills on the Dalton jumped to 15 from
But the Dalton spills fell from 13 in fiscal year 2015 to two last year as regulators worked with trucking companies to address the problem, including at a workshop in 2015 underscoring the dangers and best practices, according to
The fuel-tanker trucks are operated by hauling companies that acquire the fuel from the refiner. They include Big State Logistics,
"I know it's not stopping easily in an emergency," Hand said.
He said the
"Road safety concerns everyone in the community," Hand said.
"Given the roads the truckers have to use and the conditions they transport (fuel) in, it's a testament to their skills and abilities that there have not been more," Carr said.
The crashes typically occur in winter when daylight wanes and roads are slickest. Reports of injuries, including to truck drivers, are unusual. Regulators said only some of the accidents and spills receive public attention, like three recent crashes by Big State Logistics of
No injuries were reported, but large amounts of ultra-low sulfur diesel spilled, including
Six weeks later, on
The trailer fishtailed and broke away from the truck thanks to a safety feature at the hitch, allowing the truck to remain on the road. Still, 276 gallons dumped into the trees and a section of frozen
Officials with Big State declined to comment.
"Nine thousand gallons of diesel fuel is a big slug of extremely toxic stuff, especially if it gets into wetlands," said Kelly, a former DEC regulator.
Trucking companies are working with state and federal regulators to try to stop the crashes, officials said. Some shippers have changed the way they pay workers so drivers don't feel rushed to deliver fuel. They've also boosted insurance policies to pay for cleanups and taken steps to respond rapidly to spills, said
A lack of insurance was a problem in late 2014, when the state responded to a 4,400-gallon spill after a tanker truck slid off the highway about 50 miles northeast of
The truck owner, Alaska Petroleum Distributing in
Aves Thompson, executive director of the
"They want their drivers home safely at night and they don't want to damage the environment," he said.
Several factors contribute to the accidents, including drivers who aren't attentive enough and periods of thawing and freezing in recent winters that have kept roads slick.
Reduced road maintenance is also an issue, Thompson said.
"DOT does the best they can, but they are short on funds," Thompson said.
"We just don't have as many operators available to service roads," she said.
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