Preventing Dangerous and Deadly Truck Rollaways . . .

Use a “Cockpit Exit Routine” when parking a truck.

Rollaway truck kills motorcyclist

“A 30-year-old man riding his motorcycle was struck and killed by an unsecured and unmanned truck rolling down a hill.

. . . the truck’s driver told deputies he had set the parking brake, but an inspection showed the brake had not been set. Deputies cited the truck driver for negligent driving and lack of control.”

Every day dozens of trucks roll away after being positioned and/or parked by the driver. Some harmlessly roll a few inches. Others have rolled across parking lots or into intersections and major highways causing major property damage or fatalities. Sometimes the driver attempts to physically stop the truck or attempts to climb back into the moving cab, and becomes pinned against the truck or under the truck’s wheels.

What can be done?

In many of these rollaways, the driver simply became distracted and failed to set the parking brake. The driver simply made an error and the truck, if parked on a slight incline, will begin to roll away.

One possible Solution . . .

Ask your driver to work with you to develop a cockpit “exit routine.” What is an exit routine?

An “exit routine” is a systematic cockpit check inside of the cab before exiting the vehicle. I have taught the following “exit routine” to hundreds of drivers.

Cockpit Exit Routine

(1) Set the brakes or check that the brakes have been set. To set or check the air brakes, pull the yellow knob on the dash. This will also automatically deploy the trailer air brakes.

(2) Ensure the ignition key is in the “off” position. On average, a truck key is left in the “on/ accessory-position” at least once a year, resulting in a drained battery (and about a $200 average service call).

(3) Check the turn signal or emergency (4-ways) lights are off.

(4) Check a second time that the air brakes have been set  by pulling on the yellow knob again.

(5) Once outside, take a final glance at the truck, making sure no lights have been left on.

Another step is writing up the post-trip vehicle inspection report or DRIV.

Each time the driver exits or parks the vehicle, he should get in the habit of following the steps of the cockpit exit routine.  Doing so will ensure that the key is in the “off position,” the vehicle’s lights are off and, most importantly, the air brakes have been set, preventing a dangerous truck rollaway.

Having the driver put together the cockpit exit routine procedures increases the probability he will continue to follow the steps until they become a habit. Drivers should use wheels chocks when appropriate and should never physically attempt to stop a moving truck or attempt to climb or “jump” back into the cab of a vehicle in motion.

Do your drivers have a set cockpit exit routine that they follow?