Backing up a semi or other big truck is dangerous and a common cause of truck accidents. By some estimates improper backing up crashes represent about 30 percent of commercial vehicle accidents. Many backing up truck accidents can involve only property damage like when a truck backs into an unoccupied parked vehicle or a fence. However, Federal data indicates that thousands of people are injured and a number killed in the United States each year in heavy-truck backing up crashes. Examples are where a big truck backs over a pedestrian or bicyclist.
Most backing up truck accidents are considered preventable. If you have been injured by a backing up semi or other big truck backing up promptly talking to a lawyer may be very important. Call us today to discuss your case.
The design of semis and other large trucks often seriously limits the driver’s ability to see and understand what is going on around, behind and above the truck. This makes backing up safely more difficult and dangerous. The truck may not have a rear window or inside rear-view mirror. Even if it has these the driver’s visibility to the rear may be blocked by a big trailer, a cargo body or be otherwise limited.
To safely back up a truck driver may have to carefully navigate areas they can’t see directly or completely. Maneuvering room may be tight, there may be limited visibility to the back, on the sides and above the truck. The truck driver may also have to deal with unfamiliar locations and obstacles. Low light conditions at night and bad weather can make it even harder. Situations like backing into traffic or across a road or highway can be especially dangerous. It’s easy to see how hazardous backing a big truck can be.
If the truck has been parked for a while pedestrians may have entered or be resting in the vicinity of the truck unbeknownst to the truck driver. Other vehicles may be moving or parked nearby. Particularly tragic are cases where children are in the area and playing, running or riding bicycles for example. All of these situations present the risk for a tragic backing up truck accident.
Truck stops, due to the large number of semis and other big trucks of large trucks moving and parked there can be especially dangerous. Trucks have backed into other vehicles while they are fueling or truckers are asleep in the sleeper berth. Highway rest areas and parking lots can be also higher risk locations for backing up truck accidents.
People working on or around loading docks are at higher risk. In a particularly horrific type of backing accident dock workers have been trapped and crushed between the back of a semi and loading docks. When a big truck backs into or over a person of the danger of serious or fatal injury is obvious.
A standard instruction manual for truck drivers says that backing is always dangerous and tells them not to do it whenever possible. Because of all the difficulty and danger involved in backing up a big truck safely you might expect that truck drivers and trucking companies would avoid this dangerous maneuver. The statistics referenced above suggest otherwise.
Drivers of semis and other big trucks are advised to try to avoid parking in a way that requires backing out of the parking place. They can avoid this by parking in a way that allows them to pull forward to exit the parking space.
Some basic safety precautions truck drivers can use to reduce the chance of a backing up truck accident if they have to make this dangerous maneuver include:
- G.O.A.L.- This stands for GET OUT AND LOOK. This lets the driver check for clearance to the front, back, on the sides, above and below the truck. Truck drivers are advised to do this multiple times while backing.
- Use a Helper or Spotter. A second set of eyes watching blind spots the truck driver is unable to see can help increase the safety backing up. A good position for the spotter may be at the back of the truck where the driver is able to see them. Before starting the movement, the driver and spotter should agree on signals especially one for the driver to stop.
- Maintain, Adjust and Clean Mirrors. Missing or damaged mirrors obviously limit a truck driver’s ability to see things that might have been seen with mirrors that comply with specifications. Dirty or improperly adjusted mirrors may cause a truck driver to be unable to see people and things that they might have seen in clean, well-adjusted mirrors
- Use Mirrors Often. The truck driver should check the mirrors on both sides of the truck frequently.
- Back Slowly. Backing slowly gives the driver more time to watch for hazards and quickly react to them. Steering mistakes are easier to correct and the driver can stop faster.
Truck injury claims are usually more complicated and difficult than auto insurance claims. We’re highly trained and experienced in truck crash cases. For Kansas and Missouri backing up truck accidents call Flick Law Firm at (816) 221-0501 for your free consultation.