Michael Lawson has been driving trucks since 1987. During his time as a professional driver he’s been cut off, had drivers slam on their brakes in front of him, and try to pass him on winding mountain roads. However, no situation compared to a recent heart-stopping near-miss collision he experienced.
While driving down the highway on a rainy night with an empty trailer, Lawson was cut off by a vehicle that crossed the median and cut directly into his path. "I had just passed a fuel tanker when suddenly, this guy going in the opposite direction cut across the grassy median and made an illegal U-Turn right in front of my truck. The guy had no lights on and it was raining. He only left me a short distance to make a split-second decision.”
Lawson took evasive action to avoid hitting the vehicle and ended up in a ditch. “I was trying not to flip as I hit the ditch, but as I sat there I could feel the truck rocking. I just kept hoping it wasn’t going to roll over.”
Lawson said that when he first started out in trucking, he and his fellow drivers lived by the motto: Sacrifice one life to save ten. “I was willing to lay my truck over to keep from hitting him that night, but I have to admit, it was really scary. I thought it was gonna be over for me. When my wife saw that video, the first thought that went through her mind was that she almost lost me.”
The driver fled the scene without checking to make sure Lawson was safe, but Lawson had a Lytx DriveCam® event recorder on his side. “I was so glad I had the camera in my truck. Whenever there's a truck involved in an incident, it’s almost always assumed that the truck driver is responsible. The camera takes all that doubt out because they can see what actually happened. It’s your eyewitness when there aren’t any around.”
Lawson said in his years as a truck driver, he’s had other close calls, which is what prompted him to sign up to have a DriveCam event recorder when Hirschbach Motor Lines, who he was working for, requested volunteers.
“I already had a cheap little dash cam in my truck, because I wanted to be able to record things on the road. But for years I had wanted something more sophisticated that would automatically record events when they happened. When Hirschbach asked for volunteers to trial the cameras, I was first in line.”
He said that drivers who go out on the road without a camera are making a big mistake. “If something happens and there’s no way to prove that you did everything right, you could lose your job. If it hadn’t been for the camera, I wouldn’t have been able to prove that I wasn’t at fault.” Not only would his job have been at stake, but if he hit the vehicle and injured or killed the driver, he could have faced criminal charges or costly litigation.
Lawson said that it made him feel great to be exonerated. “I felt that I had done my job properly, probably had done it better than most, and it felt good to have it captured on video.”
A video-based safety solution can help keep your best drivers out of the courtroom and on the road by providing clear evidence of exoneration.