Various types of workplace settings require large vehicles and trailers to perform careful back-up maneuvers. It is in these settings that the potential for truck back-up accidents is elevated.
Although most drivers operate their motor vehicles in reverse gear for only a very small fraction of their driving time, 1 in 4 vehicle accidents occur while backing up, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
These crashes often take place at very low speeds, but they have the potential to cause serious injuries and even death. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 200 people are killed every year in back-up accidents.
Tools to enhance back-up safety
Every vehicle on the road is equipped with at least a minimum amount of accessories and tools to help drivers reverse safely. These can include rearview mirrors, side mirrors, proximity detection devices, backing cameras, and backing alarms.
Drivers have the responsibility to pay attention to these safety devices while performing back-up maneuvers in addition to ensuring the devices are operating properly prior to commencing a new trip. It is also important for drivers to understand that even the most technologically advanced safety devices may not completely eliminate the problem of blind spots.
Rearview mirrors installed on trucks are sufficient for detecting vehicles behind the truck. However, they are often inadequate for detecting persons, small children, or objects close to the ground.
Large vehicles and tractor trailers
Semi-trucks, construction equipment, vehicles equipped with trailers, and other large vehicles pose a potentially more severe backing hazard than smaller vehicles. These vehicles are taller than standard SUVs or other passenger vehicles. As well, they are not always equipped with rear windows or accessible rearview mirrors. When a trailer reverses, it pivots in the opposite direction of the truck’s cab. Drivers of trailers must use a spotter when backing up to compensate for the limited view and potential blind spots that exist when attempting to perform a back-up maneuver.
Drivers should take the following safety steps and precautions when backing up a large truck to prevent back-up accidents:
- Conduct a walk around prior to backing up
- Remove any potential obstacles from the back-up path
- Ensure the vehicle’s back-up alarm is functioning properly before backing up
- Park in locations free of obstacles
- Back-up slowly, while utilizing pertinent back-up safety devices
- Back-up the vehicle as straight as possible to prevent the trailer from swinging out of control
- Back into parking spots upon arrival as opposed to backing out when leaving
Help for victims of backing-up truck accidents
Often large trucking companies and their drivers will seek to avoid liability for any accidents, back-up or otherwise, they have caused. When a trucking carrier or its insurance provider has denied your bodily injury claim, you may need the skillful representation of an experienced commercial truck crash attorney. Your attorney can interview eyewitnesses, gather evidence, and in some cases employ accident reconstruction experts to help bolster your case.
If you have suffered an injury in a truck back-up accident, our seasoned Ohio and Kentucky truck accident attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law can hold those responsible to account, fighting to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free case evaluation, call us today at 877.686.8879 or use our contact form to send us a message.