Safety When Having A Spotter

Topic 21433 | Page 1

Page 1 of 1
Rob's Comment
member avatar

I received a safety memo with my paperwork this morning that I feel is so important that I feel the need to share others here.

In Memphis TN there was a situation involving a driver, and co driver. Co-driver got out to spot him into the hole. The driver stopped short so co Driver ASSUMED that he could open the swing doors. The driver had seen someone standing on the dock, and ASSUMED that the co driver was up there.. The driver began backing up and fortunately the driver hit the dock at just enough of an angle that the co driver had BARELY enough room. Had he hit the dock more "square" this would certainly have had a much more horrific ending. NEVER assume anything, if you can not clearly see some one that's spotting you, or any potential obstacles...GET OUT AND LOOK. This is an example of why having an agreed upon plan, and hand signals are so important. I do not know any details about how long they had been driving, and honestly it doesn't matter. This is a situation that could have EASILY been avoided had they just slowed down and used some common sense. The co driver fortunately escaped with minor cuts and bruises, but could have obviously been much worse.

In my opinion both individuals are at fault as communication was clearly lacking. I'm just thankful that they're ok. Whether you're a trainee, rookie, or experienced driver think about this next time you're faced with a similar situation. The company involved, as well as the experience level these individuals had is not important.

Chris M's Comment
member avatar

One thing I'll add, is when spotting for someone, never stand behind the truck. Stand out by the cab and guide them from there. You should never get between the trailer and a fixed object while someone is in the driver's seat and the brakes are not set.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

That's a scary story!

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

I'd like to suggest a better title is:

Is it safe and/or even necessary to use a spotter?

I'll wait to read the replies...

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

G-Town, I think that usually having a spotter is unsafe and a waste of time. But, there is an exception: if you must cross traffic...e.g. if you simply have to enter a street and back through traffic or back into an exit or any other such nonsense, in order to get into a poorly designed dock setup. In such a case, having a spotter whose purpose is to watch for and/or stop traffic may be the only safe way to proceed. I've been in a couple of these situations, unfortuantely. In one case it was due to an error that I made entering the wrong drive....and the only way out was to back into the street. I didn't see any safe way to do it, and no potential helper was around. I was about to call the police for help when another driver from my company happened to show up...so I enlisted his aid and the problem was quickly solved. But most of the time, these situations have come up when the only way to get into the dock was to drive out the exit and then back in...frankly, I wouldn't have attempted these backs without a spotter...and it simply had to be done to make the delivery.

I'd like to suggest a better title is:

double-quotes-start.png

Is it safe and/or even necessary to use a spotter?

double-quotes-end.png

I'll wait to read the replies...

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob's Comment
member avatar

I'd like to suggest a better title is:

double-quotes-start.png

Is it safe and/or even necessary to use a spotter?

double-quotes-end.png

I'll wait to read the replies...

Great suggestion, I couldn't think of what to title it. I agree with Dave that there are only a couple situations that would help by having a spotter. When I was in training there were a couple times my trainer got out to spot me. I still got out and looked. Chris brought up a very good point. Never stand between the truck and stationary object.

Bill F.'s Comment
member avatar

If you get into an incident/accident of any kind while using a spotter. I'll give you 3 guesses who is to blame.

It aint the spotter, it aint the spotter, it aint the spotter...

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

I'm not a fan whatsoever of having a spotter, except for the rare situations like Dave Reid mentioned. When a spotter is there to direct the peripherals: e.g. traffic or pedestrians, I can see the usefulness in keeping others safe and clear of my truck.

But when a driver depends on a spotter to guide them into a spot, he/she relinquishes all control of that truck, thus learning nothing other than dependence.

I see this most often in truck stops. Spotter comes over to help. Before long the spotter is making all control decisions of the truck. Turn left, turn right, now straighten out a little, pull forward a little, turn right again, etc. At this point the driver isn't even looking in their mirrors anymore, only at the spotter. No control, no learning.

When a spotter tries to help me at a truck stop, I politely thank them and tell them I just need to learn this on my own.

Practice and GOALing can never be replaced.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

There are some well thought-out replies here.

My thinking is definitely aligned with Turtle. Someone stopping traffic while backing from a live street is IMO different than someone guiding a driver as they back into a tight spot.

Ultimately the person occupying the first seat is 100% responsible for what happens. G.O.A.L.

icecold24k's Comment
member avatar

I actually don't mind a spotter, I will take all the extra sets of eyes I can get. However, with that being said I am not real fond of using a spotter to help guide me into a tight spot. I really dislike when they are trying to tell me which way I need to turn and be going. I want them to be there only as a set of eyes and let me know when I am getting a little to close to something. However, it is just as easy doing things myself with several get out and looks.

Page 1 of 1

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: http://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More