Truck Back Up Accident: What Constitutes Negligence When a Truck Driver is Backing or Reversing?

By: JML Law | February 16, 2019.
Truck Back Up Accident: What Constitutes Negligence When a Truck Driver is Backing or Reversing?

Trucks and backing can be a fatal combination. Although backing can be a dangerous maneuver even when performed by a driver of a passenger car, when truck drivers perform a backing maneuver, the consequences can be deadly to many.
Truckers who have actually read the Commercial Driver’s License manual prior to operating the truck know that a truck driver is always required to GOAL (short for “Get Out And Look”) before performing a backing maneuver.

“Trucks performing a backing maneuver is dangerous for many reasons,” says our Los Angeles truck accident lawyer at JML Law. “In fact, truckers are often required to ask spotters to help them complete this maneuver safely without crashing into someone or something.”

Watch out for trucks backing up

If you are walking past a truck and you see that the trucker put on the four-way flashers, get away from that truck as soon as possible because it means that the truck driver is about to perform a backing maneuver. If the truck driver did not signal to indicate that he or she would be backing up (a trucker is required to signal by either honking or putting on the four-way flashers), but performed the maneuver anyway and left you injured, you will most likely be able to sue that truck driver for negligence and failure to warn.

Being injured by a truck is no joke. After all, trucks can weigh up to 80,000, which is why trucks require extra stopping distance compared to passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, many truck drivers in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California do not know the right way to move in reverse safely without hurting anyone.

What constitutes negligence when a truck driver is backing up

Luckily, we brought our experienced truck accident lawyer in Los Angeles to explain the do’s and don’ts of truck drivers moving in reverse and what constitutes negligence on the part of the truck driver when you get hit by a truck in the middle of a backing maneuver:

  • Blind spots. Many truck drivers prefer to focus on only one mirror when performing a backing maneuver, which is a huge mistake as these truckers are substantially limiting their view. By not watching both mirrors when backing up, a truck driver creates blind spots on either side and rear of his or her truck. While it is impossible to see the direct rear of a truck (unless the rear-end is equipped with a camera), watching both mirrors gives a much better view and can prevent a backing up accident.
  • Location. Truck drivers are not allowed to perform a backing maneuver anywhere they want, as certain areas and locations are considered “high-risk.” A trucker is not allowed to back up in a high-risk area such as a location with a large number of pedestrians or passenger cars. Also, truck backing is not allowed in a location where pedestrians and car drivers are more likely to be distracted.
  • Signaling. As we have mentioned above, truck drivers are required to signal their intention to move in reverse in order to warn pedestrians and car drivers of the imminent danger. While it is true that most trucks have a very distinctive backup alarm (“beep”) when reversing, in no way does it limit or eliminate the truck driver’s duty to properly evaluate the area and take other safety precautions when backing.
  • Poor lighting, bad weather conditions. Truck drivers should never perform a backing maneuver under low-light or poor weather conditions. That’s because darkness and certain weather conditions, such as rain, can make it difficult to see pedestrians or other car drivers. It is advised to drive to a location that is not poorly lit or avoid backing up in bad weather.

If you have been injured in a truck backing up an accident, talk to our Los Angeles trucking accident lawyers at JML Law. Schedule a free consultation by calling at 818-610-8800.

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