truck driving safety


Truck Driving Safety

Large commercial trucks perform an essential function in our nation’s economy, transporting goods and products from city to city and state to state. Automobile drivers have to share the roads and highways with tractor trailers, flatbeds and cargo tankers.

To better understand how to drive around 18 wheelers, it is helpful to see the road from the commercial truck driver’s point of view.

Recently, we asked some trucking industry experts to discuss the common misconceptions that passenger car drivers have about large trucks and the types of safety violations that turn up in roadside inspections of trucks and truck drivers.

  • What types of safety violations show up most frequently in roadside inspections of commercial trucks and commercial truck drivers?
  • What are some of the most common myths and misconceptions that drivers have when driving around large trucks? What can truck drivers do to help overcome/handle these misconceptions that may affect drivers ability to safely commute?


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01 | Desiree Wood

President/Truck Driver, REAL Women in Trucking, Inc.

“As a driver myself, I've had primarily clean inspections except for once when I was issued a trailer that had a slow leak in the tire,” Wood said. Wood said the leak was undetectable in a parked position. Wood said she disagreed with the practice of allowing office personnel to assign equipment such as truck trailers when the office personnel are not held accountable for the equipment’s condition during a roadside inspection. Wood said, “At that particular location I was present when another driver from my fleet was removed from the account for asking why we could not select our trailers ourselves rather than rely on someone who does not have a CDL to issue us one.”

Wood said that passenger cars tend to linger at the rear end of large trucks, making it harder for truck drivers to change lanes in response to merging traffic or sudden emergencies such as stalled cars and road debris. “Cars must not linger around trucks,” said Wood, who said judging distances in side view mirrors was difficult because of depth perception issues. “Car drivers should be educated to stay clear and pass quickly.” Wood said motorists cutting in front of large truck without allowing enough distance is a huge problem. Wood said that truck safety courses should be given for new drivers and all those who must attend traffic school.

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02 | H. Trent

School Director, U.S. Truck Driving School

Trent said that brake issues and hours of service violations for drivers who spend too much time behind the wheel without enough rest are the most common safety violations that show up in roadside inspections.

Trent said the most common misconception is that commercial truck drivers are not adequately trained and are just trying to hog the road.

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03 | Calvin Lee Cotton Jr.

PND Driver, Old Dominion Freight Lines

Cotton said trailer defects are the most common safety violation identified by roadside safety inspectors.

Cotton said, “The myths are that the truck drivers are bad drivers.” Cotton said some Indiana truck drivers should drive more cautiously to make the public feel more at ease.

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04 | James Butrymowicz

Master Truck Mechanic

Butrymowicz said the most common safety issue on tractor trailers is brakes out of adjustment.

He said the most common misconception that auto drivers have about large trucks is that trucks are slow and always in the way. “Drivers should always pay attention and be alert, drive conscientiously,” he said.

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