In safe trucking news: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has asked federal regulators to consider adding a requirement to equip all new trailer-pulling, medium- and heavy trucks with technologies that minimize driver blind spots. You can read the entire NTSB report here.
The recommendation follows research that suggests the elimination of blind spots would significantly reduce collisions between tractor-trailers and other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. According to data from 2011, the NTSB says that 15 percent of fatal two-vehicle crashes between trucks and passenger cars were the result of side impacts.
Simple and relatively inexpensive technologies currently include right-fender mirrors, crossover convex mirrors, and automatic notification systems that alert drivers when others are in their blind spots.
As new technologies and regulations are developed and discussed, there are ways to stay safe when sharing the roads with tractor trailers. National Tank Truck Usher Driver of the Year finalist, Ron Hawkins, Jr., from Toledo, Ohio, has driven over 2 million miles in the past 30 years, and we like the advice he offered to readers of The Blade: Beware the blind spot.
Blind spots around a semi are larger than you may think. “I can take a full length school bus, fold the mirrors in, and park it behind the truck, and you would never see it in my mirrors” Hawkins told The Blade staff writer, Rose Russell.
Tips for sharing the road with tractor-trailers:
- Never pass on the right. The blind spot is 4 or 5 lanes wide on the right side of the truck.
- When you are passing (hopefully on the left), don’t linger. The more time you spend right next to the truck, the longer you are in the blind spot.
- Keep a safe distance behind. The blind spot directly behind a trailer may extend as far as 25 car lengths.
- Be sure you can see the driver in his/her sideview mirror. If you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you.
In addition to maneuvering around a truck’s blind spot, Hawkins offered great reminders about the relatively slow stop-time of large, heavy vehicles. Depending on the weight and type of the load, a truck could require as much as the length of one football field plus both end zones to come to a complete stop. Maintaining a safe distance from large trucks not only minimizes your time in driver blind spots, but it also offers adequate room to stop in the event of an emergency.
CCC takes safety very seriously. We consistently rank in the 98th percentile of CSA (Compliance, Safety, and Accountability) metrics. Our longstanding commitment to safe behavior helps maintain safe roads, but it also reduces the liability of our partners and clients. We’re proud of our safe trucking!