Five Deadly Truck Driver Behaviors

Anyone can make an honest mistake. But sometimes an error can carry a lot more risk than bargained for. Risky things . . . have a way of going wrong. Some mistakes are never okay. Here are five risky driver behaviors that should never occur . . .

Situation 1: Allowing Unauthorized Drivers

child driving semi

It’s never a good idea to let an unauthorized driver behind the wheel of a big rig.  It’s a really, really bad idea to let a child drive a tractor trailer. See more here.

Yet many companies do not have a formal policy prohibiting unauthorized drivers. Another bad idea . . .

Situation 2: Backing on the Expressway

backing up on the expressway

This driver made a mistake and missed his exit ramp. He then made a much bigger mistake by backing on the expressway.

Another bad, bad, idea . . .

Situation 3: Making a U-turn on a Highway

Never mind the double-yellow and oncoming traffic . . . They got away with it . . . this time. That’s all that matters, right? Wrong.

One truck was hit while making a U-turn when the truck got stuck in the mud and could not clear traffic, costing the company a $755,000 settlement. Some U-turns gone bad have ended in multi-million dollar lawsuits after costing other drivers their lives.

Situation 4: Texting While Driving

texting crash

This truck driver was texting, when he sideswiped a car before losing control and crossing over the medium into oncoming traffic, resulting in a fatal crash.

“It just didn’t have to happen. This driver needs to take this all on himself,” said one of the investigators.

Situation 5: Running the Rail Crossing Lights or Gate

RRX Crossing violation

This driver is well behind the 15 foot stop line, but then decides to proceed anyway . . .

No harm, no foul . . .

That is, until somebody has to call 911 . . .

The Burden is Always on the Company

These high risk and dangerous driver behaviors occur again and again. Many times a small error was made and the error becomes compounded by taking a shortcut. Nobody likes to admit to making a mistake.

At other times, it is simply bad judgement on part of the driver.

In any case, the company can be called to task

They systematically deposed the truck driver, safety director, dispatcher, and company designated representative and each was asked, under oath, if he/she believed that the truck driver had adequate training. —Attorneys for Plaintiff

Here are some other bad driver behaviors known as “red flag” violations.

BASIC FMCSR Part Violation Description
Driver Fitness 383.21 Operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with more than one driver’s license
Driver Fitness
(a)(2) Operating a CMV without a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL)
Driver Fitness 383.51 (a) Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified
Driver Fitness 383.91 (a) Operating a CMV with improper CDL group
Driver Fitness 391.11 Unqualified driver
Driver Fitness 391.11 (b)(5) Driver lacking valid license for type vehicle being operated
Driver Fitness 391.11 (b)(7) Driver disqualified from operating CMV
Driver Fitness 391.15 (a) Driving a CMV while disqualified
Drug/Alcohol 392.4 (a) Driver uses or is in possession of drugs
Drug/Alcohol 392.5 (a) Possession/use/under influence of alcohol less than 4 hours prior to duty
Fatigued Driving (HOS) 395.13 (d) Driving after being declared out-of-service (OOS)
Vehicle Maintenance 396.9 (c)(2) Operating an OOS vehicle

Thank you for reading this. Have a safe day.