TRUCKS: Be Seen or Be Liable

by Andrew R. Young | October 19th, 2011

If a truck driver is going to try to back a commercial truck into a driveway in the pitch darkness, he must make his backing intentions known to other motorists sharing the road.  More importantly, the truck must be Code Compliant with the legally required lighting and reflective tape so that it can be seen.

The Ohio Commercial Driver License Handbook teaches truck drivers the importance of signaling their intentions.  “Other drivers can’t know what you are going to do until you tell them.”  Safety tips to be learned include: signaling early; signaling continuously; and cancelling your signal.

Even if you think your truck is in plain sight, other motorists may not notice it, particularly at night.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires specific lighting for a truck and the use of reflective tape to reduce side and rear crashes (See “Lamps and Reflective Devices” 46 CFR § 393.11).

At night, a truck that cannot be seen may cause a driver to become surprised and unable to avoid a crash.  A proper pre-trip vehicle inspection will reassure a truck driver that lights, reflectors, and reflective tape are clean, working, and Code Compliant.  If a truck is missing required lighting, has broken taillights, dirty reflectors, or is missing reflective tape, it can be tagged “out-of-service” as an unsafe hazard.  A truck that illegally cannot be seen is a danger to our roadways.  Truck drivers must choose to be seen or choose to be liable!

Authored by Attorney Andrew R. Young – Class A CDL License