The sound is definitely a familiar one – the loud and annoying “beeeep beeeep” from large trucks as they shift into reverse. The sound is meant to alert nearby motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists that the driver is about to back up their truck, and everyone in the immediate area should proceed with caution.
Truck drivers have a very limited sight line, even when driving normally. When you add in reversing, turning around, or maneuvering into tight spaces like loading docks or parking lots, things can get risky and dangerous for anyone or anything in their path. These blind spots become massive. Truck accidents can happen before you know it.
And, regarding that annoying reverse beep noise? A 2017 study shows that the sound is so etched into our everyday lives that we’ve learned to tune it out. In fact, OSHA requires construction workers wear ear protection on worksites, preventing them from hearing the very noise that should be protecting them from hazards on the job. More? Even though it’s a piercingly loud noise, research also shows that it’s low frequency, meaning that we can’t quickly locate where it’s coming from.
Combined with the numerous blind spots on semi-trucks and tractor-trailers, truck backing-up accidents are unfortunately common. Having a higher perch up in the cab doesn’t give drivers any more visual advantage. And, when truckers are careless or negligent when backing up and reversing, they can cause serious and tragic accidents like collisions, backing up over a smaller vehicle, or even running over a pedestrian or child. Because of the massive size of a commercial truck, even a low-speed accident can cause severe injuries and property damage.
Truck driver responsibility and negligence
Although the presence of reverse lights and alarms are meant to notify us of a truck going into reverse, every truck driver should be trained and prepared for this type of maneuver and understand how to do it properly and safely.
Many modern cars and semi-trucks have safety tech like rear-view cameras, but this doesn’t give drivers a pass on doing a thorough physical check for obstacles before backing up. For example, if a trucker focuses on only one mirror while going in reverse, they’re barely doing half of their job. They can’t see every possible object in their path, and the rear of the truck is always hidden. But using all mirrors strategically in concert with safety technology, drivers get a more complete picture of what’s going on outside and behind the vehicle, and these risks can be reduced dramatically.
What are the proper safety measure truck drivers can take to prevent backup accidents, injuries, and fatalities? A simple “get out and look” can help clear out pedestrians, cyclists, and approaching vehicles. Trucking companies call this method GOAL, and it’s a quick and easy way for a driver to assess their situation before backing up. Drivers are also taught to use a spotter when possible – it’s a simple and reliable way to assess for safety. And, of course, outfitting fleets with proper safety technology like motion detectors and safety cameras adds even more protection.
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a truck backing-up accident, the Mississippi truck accident attorneys at Merkel & Cocke, P.A. can help. Our legal team fights to secure you the compensation you deserve for your injuries and pain and suffering. Our lawyers have offices in Clarksdale, Jackson, and Oxford. Call us today at 662-799-1633 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.