There is no doubt that visibility is low in large commercial trucks, especially when they are attempting to back up. Their size and physical make-up creates large blind spots for the driver; this means they may not see what is behind them or approaching them as they start backing their vehicle. However, as professional drivers, this is something they are trained on and should be compensated for. When it is overlooked, tragic accidents can occur.
Student Hit By Backing Dump Truck
A teenager was hit in a backing accident and critically injured just as he was starting his first year of college at Ohio State. The 18-year student was riding his bicycle to class when a dump truck backed out of a construction site. The driver paused for a moment after hitting the teenager, then continued backing up, even though the student was screaming and onlookers tried to get his attention to stop. The dump truck ran over the student with its front tire and caused injuries that will put his academic aspirations on hold.
Back Up Accidents Can Be Avoided
Unfortunately these types of back up accidents are too common, especially when they are avoidable. Commercial truck drivers need to follow safety procedure protocol and companies that use large trucks such as dump trucks need to equip their vehicles with as many safety devices as possible.
- Back-up alarms. Although back-up alarms do not forfeit the need for visibility assistance in large trucks, they can at least warn pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles. Many commercial vehicles come equipped with back-up alarms but they can also be purchased and installed as optional equipment.
- Back-up sensor. This device gives the driver a warning if it perceives any obstacle in its path behind the vehicle.
- Back-up camera. Using a LED monitor and a camera fitted to the rear of the truck, this device allows the driver to see what is behind him. However, he is still only going to see what is in the view of the camera and may not see someone approaching.
All these safety equipment accessories can be combined to improve the visibility and warning capabilities of these large trucks. However, the best solution for trucks to use a spotter to help them back out and warn others of the vehicle (for further discussion on backing accidents look here). In the case of the student who was hit, any construction site should have spotters available to guide a truck safely out and warn passing pedestrians and vehicles. Accidents such as that are completely avoidable and senseless tragedies.