According to NASD, about 25 percent of accidents involving trucks are a result of backing over a person or into an object. Backup accidents happen when a driver reverses their car into an object, person, or another car. Although trucks come equipped with rear view mirrors, which are adequate for detecting vehicles behind the truck, they are inadequate on many vehicles for detecting small children or objects close to the ground, which fall in the trucks blind spot. Large trucks have much larger blind spots that can hide entire vehicles and large adults. Drivers require skill and training to safely back the truck. On average, six fatalities a year can be attributed to equipment colliding with other vehicles or pedestrian workers, or backing over the edge of a dump point.
General Rules for backing a large truck:
- If you can avoid backing, don’t do it!
- Never be in a hurry when backing.
- If there is no spotter available:
- Reconsider backing up. Is it really necessary?
- Make a reasonable attempt to get someone to act as a spotter
- If a spotter cannot be obtained, get out the unit and walk around the unit completing a “circle of safety” and survey the backing area. Before proceeding to back unit, being sure to also check overhead clearance
- Give a final warning of two horn blasts just prior to backing
- Bring the unit to a complete stop
- Roll window down completely
- Make visual and verbal contact with the spotter. “If you cannot see or hear the spotter, do not backup!”
- Driver and spotter must establish and continue eye contact in the left rear view mirror at all times
- Drivers must have a thorough knowledge of spotter hand signals
- The spotter hand signals to the driver indicating it is safe to begin backing
- The driver gives a two blast warning on the horn just prior to backing
- Conduct a “circle of safety” and survey the backing area and all other sides of the vehicle checking for hazards. Before proceeding to back unit, being sure to also check overhead clearance
- Communicate any observed hazards to the driver
- Place yourself eight to ten feet to the left rear of the unit
- Establish visual and verbal contact with the driver and continue eye to eye contact in the left rear view mirror at all times
- Be familiar with hand signals before allowing backing maneuvers to begin
- Stop the driver if any hazards are observed or if you are uncertain of the direction that the driver is maneuvering
If you or your loved one was injured by a backing truck, contact us to discuss your case with an expert.