Sharing the road with a cement truck can make a driver think twice about their safety, and with good reason. Like other commercial vehicles, cement trucks present unique challenges to their drivers and to other motorists, and the risk of being seriously hurt or killed in a truck crash is usually greater than in a collision involving two passenger vehicles.
Simply put, larger vehicles like cement trucks can weigh exponentially more than the average car. When an already hefty commercial vehicle is carrying thousands of pounds of cement that truck can weigh roughly 66,000 pounds when its load is included.
What Does it Take to Drive a Cement Truck and Why?
Cement truck drivers are required to carry a Class B license in Oklahoma, certifying their ability to operate a truck over 26,000 pounds. They are required to pass a driving test to show their skill in using air brakes, basic maneuverability, as well as knowledge of vehicle pre-trip inspections and state regulations. The reason this specific classification is necessary is because drivers who do not have the proper training can be a serious hazard on the road.
This testing does not provide experience for the driver, however. A cement truck operator needs to take great care in turning and regulating speeda concrete truck can easily roll over if it is under the control of an inexperienced driver.
The very nature of the trucking industry can present other dangers for motorists. Truck drivers work under tight deadlines and are very often compensated when they deliver a load early or within the expected time-frame. This may mean drivers make risky decisions, like working off the clock, driving while fatigued or using amphetamines or other illicit substances to stay awake.
A recent example of these risks can be seen in the June accident involving comedian Tracy Morgan. Morgan and a limo-van full of passengers were struck by a Wal-Mart truck driver who had been awake for more than 24 hours. In this case, the automatic braking system in that drivers vehicle failed at the time of the crash, reminding drivers everywhere that even safeguards relied upon by the trucking industry are sometimes not enough.
Visibility is also a factor for cement trucks. Truck drivers have a blind spot that can hide small cars and cause major catastrophe if a car is in that spot while the vehicle is maneuvering. Because the average passenger vehicle does not have such a large blind spot, we tend to forget this is a hazard when traveling alongside commercial vehicles.
Other Trucking Industry Dangers
Cement trucks can be dangerous for the drivers that work with them, too. A quick search of the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations injury database reveals over 250 incidences of injuries related to concrete trucks. These events range from electric shock from contact with the overhead line to an employee whose head was crushed between the axel units.
The important thing to remember is that large vehicles need extra space in almost every circumstance. Their awkward shape, slow stopping time and propensity toward tipping necessitates caution from smaller vehicles. While truck drivers are not without fault when it comes to causing accidents, it is also the responsibility of other motorists to give large cement trucks the respect they deserve on the road. If you have been injured in a truck accident contact a trusted personal injury lawyer in Tulsa today for a free consultation.