SAFETY DESK: Roll-away Accidents


Field Safety Specialist, Lyman-Richey Corporation

The overwhelming majority of roll-away truck accidents can be prevented.

These incidents can be caused by multiple reasons:

  • Mechanical defect - If the truck’s parking brake is not functioning as intended, the truck’s weight can overwhelm the brake and the truck can roll.

  • Bridge axle lowered or over pressured for the load - If you lower a pressurized bridge axle, it can raise the drive axles off of the ground causing a roll-away.

  • Driver error - The driver gets out of the truck and fails to pull the parking brake.

To prevent roll-away incidents:

  • Conduct a complete brake test and pre/post trip vehicle inspections - Making sure that you complete a full brake test and inspections helps verify that your brakes are in working order.

  • Do not lower the bridge axle to the ground unless needed - Once you lower the bridge axle to the ground, it can cause the truck to roll.

  • Set the brakes or check that the brakes have been set - Whenever you intend to get out of the cab of our truck, make sure that the parking brakes are set.

If the truck is on a grade, even if it’s not noticeable, it can begin to roll. It doesn’t take much time for it to gain momentum and once the truck gets moving, it will plow through whatever ends up in its path until it meets an obstacle strong enough to stop it.

If drivers do not take the time and effort to ensure that the are preventing roll-away incidents, someone could get seriously hurt.

Isn’t it worth the time to ensure that everyone can go home safely to their families at the end of the shift?



1. What other best practices help prevent roll-away?

2. What other things can affect a trucks parking brakes?