We’ve all seen it: a gravel or dump truck barreling away from a sand pit or work site with its empty bed raised. Most people think nothing of it, except that perhaps the driver was anxious to get back to the next delivery. However, a Houston trucking accident this past summer shows that drivers who leave their truck beds up are asking for trouble.
The bottom line: Leaving the truck bed elevated raises the height of the truck, making it impossible for the truck to pass through some underpasses or under overhead road signs because of the extra height. If the truck driver forgets about the extra height and hits the top of an underpass, the result is often disastrous for the truck, the driver, the bridge structure, other motorists, and any passersby.
Texas Truck Accidents Cause Problems
A passenger in another vehicle caught the accident in Houston on video; the passenger tried to signal the driver that there was a problem before the truck hit an overhead sign and flipped. Media outlets have speculated that the truck driver was attempting to outrun approaching Hurricane Harvey. The driver was injured and taken to an area hospital.
A dump truck with a raised bed attempted to cross the Brazos River on Highway 67 east of Glen Rose. The bed hit the top part of the historic iron structure. Repairing the bridge will take months and require one-lane traffic in the meantime.
Increased Raised Bed Truck Accidents
More and more of this type of truck accident is occurring throughout the country:
- A similar crash occurred in Florida around the same time. The elevated bed if a dump truck hit the I-10 overpass with such force that it separated from the tractor and was stuck in the overpass structure. While there no reported injuries, the impact was so severe that the bridge will require structural repairs. Officials reduced traffic on the bridge to one lane until the completion of repairs.
- A crash in August injured four people near Blountsville, Tennessee, in the same month. The elevated bed hit the overpass and was torn from the truck, falling onto the roadway. A car hit the detached bed sending all three passengers to the hospital along with the truck driver.
- In Elkridge, Maryland, a dump truck with a raised bed brought down power lines on Route 1. This stopped traffic and forced residents to remain in their homes until crews cleared the downed wires.
Fixing the Problem to Reduce Truck Accidents Is Not Easy
Some truck driver advocates are calling for overrides or signals that would prevent a driver from operating a truck with the bed elevated. There is already a warning light on most trucks, but it does not prevent the driver from operating the truck anyway. Thus, a warning light by itself cannot solve the problem.