Blinking Lights Improving Safety for Tanker Trucks
Nearly half of motor vehicle crashes involve rear-end collisions, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. These types of wrecks kill over 1,700 people each year in the U.S. and injure hundreds of thousands more.
An Oklahoma-based trucking company came up with a creative solution to help reduce the number of these devastating collisions with large trucks.
How a Company Improved Safety with Blinking Lights on the Back of Tankers
Company leadership at Groendyke Transport bought collision mitigation systems to help improve the safety of their trucking fleet, but they were still having a problem with people running into the back of their trucks.
The company decided it needed to do something about it, so they tested an idea to install inexpensive amber-colored strobe lights on the back of some of their vehicles.
During a 31-month test period, rear-end collisions involving test vehicles dropped by over 30 percent. The results were impressive enough that the company decided to start installing amber brake-activated blinking lights on all its vehicles.
Current Regulations Regarding Tractor-Trailer Lights
Using an amber-colored blinking light is against the law for most vehicles. Under current regulations, trucks are not allowed to have blinking exterior lights unless the lights are turn signals, they’re used on oversized loads or school buses, the vehicle is an authorized emergency or service vehicle, and in a few other select exceptions.
Groendyke Transport was able to get an exception from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to use these lights on their vehicles for five years, but most other commercial trucking companies must still follow the standard regulations.
Under requirements set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), any exterior light on a truck must be “steady-burning.” In other words, these lights must be solid instead of blinking lights. Additionally, turn signals are the only amber lights allowed on the back of the vehicle. Taillights and brake lights must be red.
While the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) organization has petitioned the FMCSA to allow all tanker trucks to have these blinking lights, many trucks on the road still can’t benefit from the safety solution developed by Groendyke. This means that these trucks and all vehicles around them are possibly vulnerable to dangerous rear-end collisions.
Risks for Tractor-Trailers Being Rear-Ended
Some of the most common causes of rear-end collisions include:
- Distracted drivers, including people, texting, attending to children or eating while driving
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Failure to leave an appropriate distance when stopping behind another vehicle
- People not paying attention to traffic ahead that is stopping or slowing
- Driver fatigue
- Ignoring traffic signals and warning signs
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Hazardous weather conditions
Other Safety Tips for Truck Drivers
Although most commercial trucks can’t install blinking lights on the back of their vehicles at this point, there are many other precautions these drivers can follow to help keep themselves and other motorists safe.
Here are some of the tips the truck drivers can follow to avoid truck accidents:
- Avoid drinking, using illegal drugs, or taking new prescriptions when you’re on duty.
- Tell friends and relatives that you won’t be available to receive calls or text messages while you’re driving.
- Pull to a safe place off the road if you need to answer a text message, look at an email, or do anything that might take your eyes off the road.
- Get sufficient sleep and follow trucking safety regulations on mandated breaks to avoid falling asleep while driving or suffering from slow reaction times due to fatigue.
- Turn off your phone while you’re driving or put it in a location away from the driver’s seat, so you aren’t tempted to look at your phone while you’re on the road – if you must take a call while you’re driving, use a hands-free device like an earpiece.
- Park on level surfaces, set brakes, and place wheel chocks between the wheels to help prevent your truck from rolling.
- Avoid speeding and slow down in dangerous weather or road conditions.
- Regularly inspect your vehicle to make sure the brakes, lights, tires, fluids, wipers, and other essential parts work properly.
- Get to know your vehicle’s blind spots to help reduce the chance that you’ll hit someone while turning left or taking other similar actions.
- Even if another driver is acting aggressively, keep calm and try to avoid engaging with them. Don’t drive aggressively in return by tailgating them, cutting them off, or other negligent actions that might endanger everyone on the road.
- If any critical part breaks on your truck, take it in for repairs as soon as possible.
- Get regular medical check-ups to help ensure that you are healthy enough to drive.
- Before backing up, check to make sure nothing is behind you or close enough to hit, use a spotter when possible, turn on your backup alarms and flashers, and back up slowly.
- Take extra caution in unfamiliar areas, which might have one-way roads or other irregular traffic patterns.
- Obey local, state, and federal laws, including using your turn signals, following all traffic signs, and slowing down on turns and in work zones.
- Maintain space around your vehicle and watch out for drivers who might cut you off or other make other dangerous maneuvers.
Talk to a Louisiana Truck Accident Lawyer
If you were involved in a rear-end collision or other serious accident with a truck, contact Tomeny | Best Injury Lawyers right away. Our knowledgeable truck accident attorneys understand the complications and devastating injuries that come with truck accidents. We are dedicated to helping victims fight for their rights.
To learn more about how we can help you, fill out our quick online contact form to schedule your free and confidential consultation.