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Backup Safety for Buses and Trucks

I’m David Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss personal injury law topics.

Today’s question comes from a caller who had a school bus back into her car while she was stopped waiting for traffic to clear so she could park. She was calling to enquire about her legal rights.

Incidents involving buses, snowplows, and other large vehicles backing into another vehicle, or even a pedestrian, happen frequently. Of course, these situations happen less often than forward motion vehicle movement scenarios. But, still, they happen.

More backing-related collisions would be happening if not for backup cameras that are becoming standard equipment in many cars, SUVs, and pick-up trucks.

This standard vehicle backing safety rule applies to backing snowplows, buses, and trucks, including semi-tractor trailers.

Employees shall avoid backing when possible.

A ground guide shall be utilized if backing is required and rear vision is obstructed. The only time it is permissible to back a vehicle with obstructed vision without a ground guide is when the driver is alone, and backing is essential.

When ground guides are not available, the following shall apply:

  1. Ensure that it is clear to back before beginning backward motion.
  2. Vehicles having obstructed vision immediately to the rear (i.e., dump trucks, pick-up trucks, and other large vehicles) require the employee to exit the vehicle and visually inspect to ensure the area to the rear is free of obstructions.
  3. Before and after backing has commenced, side-view mirrors shall be constantly checked to ensure that backing conditions remain.
  4. Check for people and/or traffic approaching from the side.
  5. Always back slowly and cautiously.
  6. Vehicles equipped with backup alarms shall have alarms in an operational condition at all times. If alarms are inoperable, ground guides shall be utilized when available.

These standards make sense. If these rules are followed, collisions like the one described by the caller should never happen. But, when they happen, rest assured, someone failed to make backing safety a top priority. In most cases, the driver doing the backing will be held liable for colliding with the vehicle or person to the rear.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you are a victim of someone’s carelessness, substandard medical care, a product defect, work injury, or another personal injury, please call (219) 736-9700 with your questions. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there, make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth.”