The Dangers Associated With Semi-Truck Blind Spots


July 15, 2017

Tractor-trailers possess a multitude of factors that pose an enhanced risk to roadway safety, including a huge disparity in weight and significantly longer stopping distances when compared with passenger cars.  Large trucks can outweigh a typical passenger car by a factor of 20-30 times.  The extraordinary length and height of a tractor-trailer also obscure visibility for the truck driver and other motorists.  Although many factors related to semi-trucks and commercial drivers play a role in the number of trucking-related injuries, the size of a massive big-rig contributes both to the number of collisions and the severity of those accidents.  In this blog article, our Atlanta tractor-trailer accident lawyers highlight the danger of no zones without implementation of safety innovations and properly trained drivers.

While all motor vehicles have blind spots where a driver cannot see a vehicle in his or her mirrors, these blind spots are far more prominent behind the wheel of a massive big-rig.  The driver cannot see certain angles toward the back on either side of the trailer.  Truck drivers also cannot see the areas immediately to the left or immediately in front of the cab.  Truck drivers are expected to have knowledge of these blind spots (referred to as “no zones”) and to exercise caution because vehicles might be present in these areas.  When truck drivers do not pay adequate attention, they can cause catastrophic collisions when executing sudden lane changes. 

Semi-trucks are equipped with oversized mirrors to compensate for larger blind spots, but there are areas that still will not be visible.  The risk posed by no zones can be mitigated by innovations like crash avoidance systems, as well as rear and side vision cameras, but commercial carriers and truck owners often elect to save money rather than improve safety.  Use of this technology could significantly reduce backing up accidents, carriage override/underride collisions, and lane change crashes. 

The inability of mirrors to provide a comprehensive view of the area around a tractor-trailer also makes proper training of drivers and attentiveness behind the wheel a matter of paramount importance.  When truck drivers fail to pay attention to vehicles in adjacent lanes or an interruption in the flow of traffic, the consequences can be devastating. 

Several forms of negligence by commercial carriers contribute to blind spot trucking accidents.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations establish requirements for training drivers and driving instructors.  If the trucking company uses novice drivers, they must have a training certificate confirming compliance with the training standards contained in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations FMCSR.  Some aspects of proper training of a commercial driver include:

  • Coupling and uncoupling the trailer from the cab
  • Proficiency in distance and speed management
  • Proper handling skills
  • Safe maneuvering (e.g. steering, turning, and tracking skills)
  • Basic operation skills
  • Appropriate interaction with traffic  
  • Safe operation during daylight and after dark

Trucking companies can be liable for accidents caused by drivers who are not properly supervised and trained.  Trucking companies also have a duty to implement an appropriate disciplinary system.  When commercial carriers dispatch inadequately trained drivers on roadways in Atlanta and throughout the surrounding areas of Georgia, they can be liable for the harm they cause.  

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Montlick and Associates has been representing Atlanta injury victims throughout Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty-three years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and ll smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located, our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Sources: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
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Atlanta, GA 30329
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Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.