It’s hard to drive any truck in reverse. The sight lines are difficult. A truck of any size is hard to control. Still, just because a task is difficult doesn’t excuse negligence. Precisely because backing out into traffic or into a loading dock is hard, truck drivers must take extra precautions so the truck doesn’t strike a passenger vehicle, a pedestrian, or any other vehicle.
When the negligence or carelessness of a truck driver causes an accident, many people and businesses may be liable. In addition to the truck driver, the defendants may include the owner of the truck, the trucking company that hired the driver, the owners of the loading dock, and trucking broker.
What steps should a truck driver take to avoid a backing-up accident?
The biggest problem with backing out are the sight lines. Most commercial trucks don’t have rear-windows. The height and dimensions of the truck can make it almost impossible to see when trucks operate in reverse because of the blind spots they create. The difficulties can be exacerbated by bad weather, like rain, fog, or snow, and low visibility. Poorly-lit loading docks, and picks ups/drop offs made in the early hours of morning or late at night, can also make it harder for the drivers to see, especially if the rig is a little older and isn’t equipped with the safety technology that newer trucks may have. All of these elements increase the risk of a truck accident.
Precautionary steps the truck driver should take include:
- Manually inspecting the area. Drivers should have some feel and understanding for the area they are backing the truck into. They should know if there are any curves or inclines/declines to observe. The truck driver should know in which direction the traffic is coming from and how many lanes of traffic there are.
- Using a human helper. Many truck drivers use a team method. This means another worker, called a spotter, stands in the area that the truck wants to steer into. The standing worker directs/halts warns oncoming drivers and pedestrians. The spotter then indicates to the truck driver when it’s OK to back out. The human helper should monitor the movements of the truck as it backs out and communicate any dangers to the driver.
- Listening for audio signals. Commercial truck drivers and other truck drivers should sound their horns and any alarms before they back out to alert anyone nearby.
- Parking defensively. Truck drivers should think about how they can exit after unloading their goods before they park their truck.
- Doing a clearance check. Check for overhead wires, branches, and cables.
Back-up truck accidents are pretty common, and they can be very serious. If you were injured in a truck accident, Tulsa injury attorney Jacob Biby may be able to help. Call Biby Law Firm at 918-574-8458 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We handle truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after an injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts, and has limited his career to representing individuals and families who were injured by the negligence of other people or corporations. Learn more about Jacob Biby.