Trucking Accidents: The Low Down on No-Zones

All semi-trucks have significant blind spots in the back and along the sides of the truck that represent the danger areas where crashes are more likely to occur. No-zones are blind spots where the truck driver virtually cannot see a car, despite the fact that it is traveling behind or beside the truck.

Turning No-Zones Into Know-Zones

To operate a commercial truck safely, drivers are required to make good decisions based upon what they can see. The view through the windshield lets a truck driver know what is further ahead, but the view to the rear and the areas surrounding the truck is severely limited.

Proper mirrors can turn No Zones into Know Zones. Trucking companies should know it is more difficult to see these areas and therefore should install proper safety mirrors. If trucking companies were held to the same visibility standards as school buses are (regarding mirror placement), there would likely be a great reduction in the number of highway injuries and deaths.

 Federal Standards Regarding Bus Mirrors

 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111 requires that school buses be equipped with two individual mirror systems: 

  • System A – outside flat mirrors (one on each side) with a reflective surface of not less than 50 square inches each, and located on each side of the bus for the purpose of providing rear vision for the driver for vehicles that might be approaching from the rear.
  • System B – two convex mirrors with a reflective surface not less than 40 square inches each, with a radius of curvature, not more than 35 inches, for the purpose of providing the driver with a frontal view of the bus.

These mirror systems must overlap so as to provide the driver with views of the front and the two sides of the bus.

 Truckers Have Duty to Operate Their Rigs Safely

Tractor-trailer trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, more than 40 times the weight of the average passenger car, and commercial truck drivers have a duty to safely operate their trucks on our roads and interstates.

Do mirrors on large trucks eliminate or reduce blind spots and consequently help them meet this duty and save lives? The answer is yes - it is irresponsible not to place these mirrors on commercial trucks, and as most such mirrors cost under $100 each, and could potentially save a person’s life – it is a small price to pay.

What Are the No-Zones of a Truck?

The no-zones, or blind spots on a truck consist of:

  • Directly in front of the truck (extending to about 20 feet ahead)
  • Directly behind the truck (extending for about 200 feet back)
  • Directly beside the truck (especially on the right-hand side)

Why Should You Stay Out of No-Zones?

While truckers and bus drivers are ultimately responsible for keeping an eye on no-zones, you can take steps to protect yourself as well by doing the following:

  • Understand and be aware of what a truck's no-zones are
  • Avoid lingering in these no-zones any longer than necessary
  • Avoid cutting trucks off if they are attempting to change lanes
  • Watch the truck's turn signals and brakes and adjust your own speed accordingly
  • Do not attempt to pass a truck that has its turn signal on; slow down and be patient

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident involving a large truckcontact Murray & Murray online or call (419) 664-3711 to schedule your initial consultation with a truck crash attorney today.