Driver's Safety?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by DVS Hardscaper, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580

    I have a friend that works as management at a local terminal for a large, national, trucking company.

    The other week he was telling me that they had to fire a long time, faithful driver because he wrecked a truck. Because it was one of their better drivers I was inquizitive as to how they could fire him, so I was asking all kinds of questions. The driver told the management that a car infront of him started to come to into his lane, so he swerved to avoid getting hit.

    I was told "he made it a preventable accident". I said "what do you mean?" He said "anytime you swerve to avoid an accident, you're making a situation become your fault, whereas if you just let the other vehicle hit you, then it's all entirely their fault, thus all the liiability falls on the offending vehicle. We hold driver's safety classes and we preach to them that anytime another vehicle is about to cause an accident to not to try to avoid hitting them, just let the accident happen." "Anytime a driver is involved in a preventable accident we have to fire them, or if they incurr over $4,000 damage to the truck we have to fire them".

    Do any of you guys hold driver's safety meetings? Do you advise them what to do in the event of a hairy situation?
  2. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    I guess my answer is sort of no. I have had briefings many times with drivers especially in the winter, and I have had to fire workers for being the cause of accidents, but there was never any official meeting every monday however. Interesting topic though.

    With our trailers in tow we are about 50 feet long. On a weekly almost daily basis we get passed on double lane roads even while driving the limit, and worse always get the little 4 banger that decides it needs to be in front at the last minute when 2 lanes become 1. So in the past we were all supposed to avoid accidents and yeild to the other guy even if they were breaking the law. Well that didnt work too well when one of these morons hit us and somehow it was our fault because we hit the brakes. (Expletives inserted here). So now we hold our lines in these situations. We use extreme caution and make sure to give ample notice of lane changes. Since we started doing this it has been a little hairy in the beginning, but it has removed the safer drivers from these equations. So lets get this straight, if you try to pass me or cut me off, I'm going to maintain speed and line, if you get hit it's going to hurt, if you try without enough room to get around me I'm going to hold my speed and line, and you may wind up in a bad spot. Do I agree with this, no I dont, but I'll be damned if I am ever at fault again because some ahole left the house 30 seconds too late.
  3. Toy2

    Toy2 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,924

    We hold monthly meetings, everything from driving to lifting, sometimes its the same thing over and over again, as for the driving we are always told to stay below the speed limit, give yourself an out and focus on the things around you at all times, etc.....

    Videos, then some talking, then we sign that we attended it.....its a way to can't go back and say " I didn't remember that"......

    Companies looking out for their "A's"...
  4. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,498

    Thats rough. I remind them that I don't write their pay checks, the trucks do. I put my point across very bluntly in other ways and its understood. They are also aware of our previous "incident" with the International.
  5. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580

    And this is something that when it happens, usually the offending vehicle makes out without a scratch. They cut you off, they don't even realize it, all while you're swerving to avoid them, running off the road, down into a culvert, taking out trees, and rolling the truck. Meanwhile, the offending vehicle is marrily pulling into their driveway as 911 dispatchers are sending out rescue personnel.

    So now, theres been an accident. Your truck is the only vehicle damaged. Offending vehicle is long gone. Placing liability on your insurance policy.

    See, I think we're all taught in driver's ed to be attentitive drivers. We're all taught to hold the steering wheel in a proper manner. We're all taught to stay so many feet, or so many seconds behind a vehicle. To use turn signals. To not ride in blind spots of tractor trailers. But, we're not taught when we're driving a loaded work truck with a trailer and when Robert Idiot cuts into your lane because he's busy talking on his cell phone - that we should just let the accident take place.

    Personally, I'm one that has stood on brakes when somthing is about to transpire, but I've never been one to swerve or suddenly change lanes.

  6. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,498

    Or something such as deer..........hit them.
  7. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    DVS is right about not being taught to let the accident happen. In NJ though there are deer accidents all the time. I can distinctly remember being told in drivers ed some 15 years ago that if an animal gets in front of you to hit it because if you hit anything else you are at fault.

    On a slightly different note I had these stickers made up and since displaying them I can say that the number of stupid instances has gone down maybe 50% or more.



  8. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,366

    Those are great Shovel. DVS, thats a tough situation, sort of like a catch 20. If you were to avoid the accident and prevent it and still go on your way, it's a win win. I had it happen to me about 3yrs ago, where a driver avoided an accident while driving a salter truck and plow, and hit a curb blowing out a tire rim and throwing out the alignment really bad. The officer pretty much said, that if the truck did not hit or was not hit by the car in the accident, he could not involve it in the accident report. Needless to say, I paid out of pocket for that one.
  9. blazemaeko

    blazemaeko LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Ever look into drivecam? They record video and save it if certain parameters are met ie braking g's. Their website has some interesting videos.
  10. castle555

    castle555 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    Remember the guy in California who jackknifed his truck on purpose to avoid taking out a vehicles that had crashed in front of him as he came out of a tunnel? He was fired and he probably saved a life by that instantaneous decision - In my book, that's a real professional driver- he knew how to operate that truck and the safety of the public came first!
    And, look out, DUi in some states can be .04 for a commercial truck driver. You bump one thing, and its pee in a cup with many employers.
    I served on our department's safety committee for eight years, and our drivers were very well trained -even on a skidpad, in various vehicles. With trucks, you know it's the weight and braking distance -so speed is always a factor.
    I was in several (four) accidents during my former 30 year career as a fire fighter and was driving only for two of them -none were deemed our fault either and I am very blessed to be here. When I drove 100' platform and aerial Ladder Trucks and Large Rescue vehicles (40' length) I was very conscious of how the public operates -they don't think, and invariably act irresponsibley.
    One near head-on accident I was in with a one-ton truck that ran a red light, I actually went back on the throttle right before impact -I'd done evasive and braked, then thought, we need to win. -there were injuries. I did not lose my job, because in our state fire fighters and police officers have 'property rights' to their jobs, which is incredible protection from the usual but not always Darwinian stupidity of others.
    However, I think it is very unfair to have black and white policies as each case should be treated on an individual basis. It is invariably the insurance companies with desk drivers adjustment poeple, who wouldn't know their elbow from a left turn in a truck, who take away a guy's career.
    Also, if you are ever involved in an accident or know someone who is, get a copy of the traffic accident report from law enforcement -make sure it is accurate as they make cardinal errors sometimes. As a fire officer I would also write detailed accident reports -some do, some don't, but I would state who was where and what on our arrival -lic. numbers, description of vehicle, etc. Direction facing, and damage or injuries noted. Just in case it became a lawsuit for somebody. Good information can correct misperceptions.

    To Look at how truck accidents are being looked at by many people this is a very interesting site:
    And this one:

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