Pedestrian fatalities average about 8% to 10% of all motor vehicle fatalities each year. Tragically, some involve trucks, as recent headlines show:
• A 46-year-old woman was killed when a private sanitation truck struck her as she crossed a street.
• An 82-Year-Old Brooklyn Woman Killed by Dump Truck as she crossed a street.
• A 46 year driver was run over by two sets of the trailer’s dual wheels. He is permanently disabled after suffering 30 surgeries costing over $2 million dollars.
• A 28-year-old TN man was run over by semi-trailer in a parking lot
As each situation accident or incident are different, there are no easy and fast rules that will cover every circumstance. Drivers and safety leaders, however, should be able to construct good safety practices from a solid understanding of safety principles; understanding that knowing safety principles should be more important than memorizing “best practices.”
Drivers need to be aware that:
(1.) Many crosswalks will not allow enough time for a pedestrian to cross by the time the light turns green.
(2.) Pedestrians have right of way. Vehicles must always yield to pedestrians, and/or be ready to yield.
(3.) Children have no traffic sense. Children will dart in the street, often unexpectedly. Slow down near schools, playgrounds, and areas marked “children playing.” (Slow means about 25 MPH or less).
In addition, truck drivers should:
(4) Always check under an *unattended trailer and around the wheels, especially in times of low lighting and visibility as at night or early morning, or evenings (especially where alcohol is served). Carry a good flashlight (with extra batteries) for this purpose.
(5.) Stop well behind the crosswalk at intersections. Be able to see the crosswalk when stopped. There is a huge blind spot in front of the hood of many trucks and buses. Watch out for people in walkers or in wheelchairs, and the very young and old..
(6.) Be prepared to stop and yield in making any turn at any intersection
(7.) Always maintain visibility of any helpers, spotters, lumpers or other crewmembers, especially when backing or making turns. Maintain eye contact.
(8.) Always set the brakes when parking the vehicle, even for a short time. (Yes, this needs to be repeated.)
(9.) Idle forward slowly when starting to move forward. “Green” always means proceed cautiously, not “go.”
(10.) NEVER APPLY FUEL WHEN BACKING. Idle backwards.
(11.) Warn others of your intentions when backing with two taps of the horn: One tap to get attention, the second tap is the warning. Use the emergency lights when backing.
(12.) Maintain what is called situational awareness — know what is going on around you.
Thank you for reading this. Please pass this on to your safety department and/or drivers.
John Taratuta is a independent Risk Engineer and former Truck Driving School operator. (989) 474-9599
* Q. What is an “unattended” trailer?
A. The phrase unattended truck or trailer has been defined by a well-known insurance company as:
“A truck which has been left without a responsible person whose duty is to drive, guard, or attend the truck being either on, in, or within ten yards of the truck.”