Driving commercial or owner operator trucks are a challenge given their large size, weight, lengthy braking distances, blind spots, and limited maneuverability. However, operating a dump truck presents a unique set of challenges. As you may have guessed, they have to do with its dump bed. Improper operation of the dump bed can cause serious injury or death. There are two broad categories of dump truck hazards: tip-over and low clearance collisions.
Dump trucks and especially semi-trailer dumping rigs are getting more unstable because of the need to transport and dump larger loads. Since their width must accommodate the width of road lanes, a larger load capacity means a greater length. This long length becomes a great height when the dump bed is tilted. This makes the commercial or owner operator truck extremely top-heavy, and it doesn’t take much to cause a tip-over accident. A tip-over may occur when:
- The ground isn’t level.
- Soft ground settles on one side.
- The truck is next to a ditch and the ground suddenly fails.
- Low rear tire pressure on one side causes the bed to tip.
- Suspension problems on one side tips the truck.
- The load discharge causes uneven weight distribution in the dump bed.
- The load sticks in the top part of the dump bed making the truck highly unstable.
- Wind gusts tip the truck over.
- The lifting cylinder has a mechanical problem.
Low Clearance Collisions
Driving the truck with the dump bed in the up position is extremely dangerous because it will collide with bridges, overpasses, power lines, and other overhead objects. This causes extensive property damage and endangers the commercial or owner operator truck driver and others on the road.
Because power lines are practically everywhere, collisions with them are common. This has caused the electrocution of bystanders and sometimes the driver when he exits the vehicle while the lines are energized. Although this is sometimes caused by a mechanical problem, it’s often the fault of the driver who forgets to lower the dump bed. This happens when the driver gets into the habit of moving the truck while the bed is still up. Always wait until the bed is completely down before driving the truck.
Preventing these accidents requires diligent maintenance, understanding and implementing the correct practices, and a high degree of operator skill.
Contact us at J.E.B. Insurance Services, LLC, if you require or have questions about commercial or owner operator truck insurance in Florida.