MANAGING BLIND SPOTS IN A HEAVY VEHICLE – AS DRIVERS KNOW – IS FAR MORE CHALLENGING THAN IN A CAR, DUE TO THE REDUCED VISIBILITY FROM A CABIN. THIS IS WHY BLIND SPOT MONITORING SYSTEMS ARE ESSENTIAL.

It might surprise many fleet owners that even with mirrors and cameras, and depending on the heavy vehicle being operated, their drivers may only have 180 degree visibility. Blind spots are a major safety issue on worksites and on the road.

In 2020 Hanson, part of the Australian Heidelberg Cement Group, undertook a drone research project to map the blind spots of their entire fleet. This included various vehicle types including Mini Agitators, B-Double Semi Tandem Trailers, Quad Dogs, Semi Single Tankers and Tippers.

For each vehicle they were able to monitor three key areas:

  1. Where the driver had an unobstructed view;
  2. Where they had visibility only via mirrors, cameras or by putting their head out the driver’s side window;
  3. And where blind spots were.

For some vehicles, an average height person (1.76m) standing within two metres of the front of the cabin could not be seen by a driver without the use of additional technologies. That is a significant blind spot!

You can see in the diagram below that for the cement truck, over 90 degrees of viewing angle is in the driver’s blind spot (shaded red). While this might be confronting news for fleet and safety managers, the results typically surprise many truck drivers as well.

Click here to view more Blind Spots and Visibility Areas on all vehicles.

BLIND SPOTS – A MAJOR CAUSE OF FATALITIES

In the waste industry (collection and landfill), blind spots were found to be one of the key reasons for fatalities that occurred in a US 2013-2014 study, finding that:

  • Operators did not see someone in their blind spot;
  • Operators thought their vehicle’s path was clear.

While it was noted that backing and rear-end collisions were the most common causes of injury, blind spot accidents also occurred on the side or in front of a vehicle.