Accidents related to commercial dump trucks commonly happen during the backing-up process. Hearing stories about people getting run over while they are backing is unfortunately not uncommon. The reasons for this happening are certainly varied. The sheer size of the vehicle alone is a big contributing factor. Even with the aid of side mirrors, there are areas to the rear of any car known as ‘blind spots’ that are not visible to the driver.
Human Error Factor
Human error is a big contributor to the problem. Ideally, a spotter should be stationed behind the truck to assist the driver when backing up. Unfortunately, on many occasions when accidents have happened, the drivers involved have disregarded the need for a spotter and relied only on their side-view mirrors. This common practice has proven to be dangerous and even fatal.
Available Safety Devices
When considering the issues regarding commercial truck safety, it is important and helpful to know that there are systems that can help improve safety during backing up procedures. Since it is apparent that spotters can be ignored, an alternative to consider are back-up warning devices that can be installed on the vehicle.
Three of the most common backup warning devices that can improve the safety of commercial dump trucks are: a back-up alarm, a back-up sensor and a back-up camera system.
Back-up alarm– A back-up alarm is basically an audible signaling device that is activated whenever the vehicle is put in reverse. The device creates a loud beeping sound set to around 100 decibels to make it audible despite any background noise. The signal is designed to alert anyone around the vehicle, warning them that the truck is backing up.
Anyone working behind the vehicle should then be able to hear the alarm and move away from the truck’s path. This feature is standard equipment on most modern commercial vehicles. For models without this device, there are individually available backup alarm systems that can be purchased and installed.
Back-up Sensor– Another system that can improve the safety of a truck while backing up is a back-up sensor. The backup sensor is a device installed on the rear and when put in reverse gear, the sensor automatically monitors for any obstruction on the vehicle’s rear end. If there is any object that is detected within the vehicle’s path, an alarm located inside the cab automatically activates informing the driver about the obstacle.
Back-up Camera– On some trucks, instead of the conventional back-up sensor and/or alarm, they have a back-up camera system. These systems have a camera installed on the rear end of the vehicle and a small LCD monitor in the cab. The camera can monitor everything that is behind the truck, feeding the driver a live image from the rear of the vehicle of anything or anyone that could affect a backing-up procedure.
Safety is always an issue that cannot be ignored. If your commercial dump trucks don’t have any of these backup safety systems, now is the best time to have one installed. You can purchase any of these systems and install it to make your truck a safer vehicle.