‘Truck Mirrors Create an Illusion of Road Safety’

OSC: "80% of mirrors on trucks are not adjusted properly"

Most truckers in the Netherlands drive with incorrectly adjusted mirrors. What's more, they have no idea how to improve the adjustment themselves. This not only endangers road safety but also poses a major risk for drivers themselves. This is according to the Dutch umbrella road haulage organization, OSC.

Every truck driver knows the feeling. You're driving through a busy city. It's beginning to grow dark and you need to make a right turn. You check and double-check the mirrors, and as you start to turn, the thought passes through your head: Have I seen everything? Fortunately, everything usually turns out fine, but that is sometimes more down to luck than wisdom according to OSC President Willem Bos.

Spot Check at Trucker Event
Many drivers are unable to see all of the compulsory fields of vision in their mirrors (classes VI and V). For example, the front wheels may be out of view or the rear axle of the tractor unit may be invisible. A few years ago, OSC carried out a spot check during a trucker event. On 80 percent of the trucks, the mirrors were found not to be adjusted properly.

A Lack of Focus in the Transport Chain
According to Bos, the reason for this was a lack of focus. "Manufacturers mostly check that the mirrors on a truck are well aligned. Most dealers do not look at the adjustment. The transport company trusts that they are properly fitted, the driver picks up the keys and is told "good luck!" However, only a few guys ever drive to a mirror adjustment point afterwards to check whether they can see everything they need to see... And who actually know how to do that."

Training and Demonstrations for Transport Companies
Transport companies regularly ask OSC to provide training, including the compulsory Code 95 training. During these sessions, there is also a focus on damage prevention and safety. Among other things, Bos and his colleagues explain how drivers can adjust their own mirrors, and also give demonstrations with Orlaco camera-monitor systems including CornerEye.

CornerEye for Optimum Vision around the Truck
This mirror-replacement camera system covers a 270° field of vision. The large monitor on the A pillar of the cab displays real-time images from the high-definition camera on the truck. This provides drivers with the best possible view of road users ahead of, next to and at an angle behind the truck in all conditions, thanks to features such as night vision and lens heating.

Reducing the Risk of Damage and Downtime
If it were up to OSC, transport companies would immediately be required to switch to the camera system, especially given that more and more inexperienced drivers are taking to the road due to the shortage of labor. However, from experience, Bos knows that transport companies are sometimes reluctant to make investments. "But do you know what's really expensive? Downtime due to damage or accidents. If you avoid even a single accident with this system, you will already have earned back the investment."

Camera-Monitor Systems as the Mark of a Good Employer
Most accidents and damage involving heavy goods vehicles take place in busy inner cities and when maneuvering on site. According to Bos, it would be a good idea for trucks on those routes to always be fitted with camera-monitor systems. "They provide a lot of benefits, and they are also a sign that you're a good employer. If you're ever involved in an accident, it stays with you. I know many drivers who have looked for other work because they could no longer cope with the stress."

Disqualified from Driving Due to Incorrectly Adjusted Mirrors
Following accidents that result in injury, a traffic accident analysis is always performed. During this analysis, the mirrors are also placed under the microscope. "In the past few years, a number of drivers have lost their licenses as their mirrors were not correctly adjusted. The court deemed this to be negligence."

Playing Russian Roulette with Drivers' Futures
Bos refers back to the spot check carried out by OSC, in which 80% of mirrors were not correctly adjusted. "Actually, drivers play Russian roulette every day, both with the safety of other road users and with their own futures. There is a good chance that they may lose their jobs following an accident. And it's so easy to avoid that with a camera-monitor system."

OSC, the Dutch umbrella road haulage organization, comprises more than 80 affiliated road haulage associations. The organization aims to improve the reputation of the profession. OSC does this by providing training, and organizing truck runs and competitions for drivers. These include the National Driving Agility Championship (Nationaal Kampioenschap Behendigheidsrijden) and the "Most Efficient Driver in the Netherlands." For more information, visit www.chauffeursverenigingen.nl