The 21st Century Rear-View Mirror

Consider how a video backup camera can enhance safety in your vacuum truck fleet

Interested in Safety?

Get Safety articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Safety + Get Alerts


Rear-view video cameras are showing up more and more on all types of trucks. Any opinion on their value and worth?

Ray Nesbitt

Atlanta, Ga.



Let’s face it. It’s difficult to get a clear view of what’s behind your vacuum truck when you’re backing up. The dangers are countless. Maybe there’s a kid on a bicycle. Perhaps the backend of a car or maybe just something lying on the ground awaits your crunch. I have to admit, I backed into a vertical guard pipe once because I couldn’t see it.

The video camera on the back of a truck combined with the screen in the cab pretty much eliminates blind spots behind the vehicle. How many pumpers have backed into something they never saw? Probably quite a few.

The monitor not only eliminates the blind spot, but may provide you the opportunity to get your insurance premiums reduced. The video monitor makes a dramatic difference in the everyday safety of a pump truck, or any truck for that matter. The cost of these electronic devices has come down in recent years, and it’s going to always be cheaper than the first accident deductible.


Choosing the right restroom carrier


I’ve seen many different restroom carriers on vacuum trucks as I drive around town. Some seem lightweight and some seem overweight. What’s the best way to go?

Mark Saunders

San Antonio, Texas



There are plusses and minuses to the various kinds of carriers. Some are built of lightweight tubing. Some are made from 1 1/2-inch tubing and some even down to 1-inch tubing. This reduces the overall weight on the truck and makes the carrier easy to lift up and down. On the other hand, in the event of a minor collision with another vehicle or a fence post, the carrier is finished. Lightweight tubing can carry two restrooms to a work site, but can’t withstand much damage.

The heavier carriers can stand up to minor collisions, but they are heavy and difficult to fold up when not in use. Heavy-duty carriers are made of 3-inch or heavier square tubing. They can add considerable weight to the truck, which can be a problem if you run close to your weight limit.

Take all of these factors into consideration and choose the right carrier for your truck and your worker situation.


Why do paint costs vary so much?


I have been pricing vacuum trucks and when I ask about the paint on the tank I get quite a range of costs. What could account for the wide variety of estimates for painting a tank?

Steven Redmond

Salt Lake City, Utah



Truck builders use two different types of paint: One type, acrylic enamel, is less expensive. When the vacuum tank is painted, the shine on the tank will be lustrous and full. Then, depending on your location, the sun will generally wear down that shine as time goes on. In as little as a year, and sometimes longer, the shine and luster can be dull or flat. The tank will often need repainting in three to five years (again depending on how much sunlight it’s working in).

On the other hand, there is the polyurethane group of paints. This is generally a two-part paint system and it is often referred to as giving the tank a “plastic” finish. When this paint system is applied properly, the finish is lustrous and smooth, and gives the tank a finish that will outlast acrylic enamel by a long time.

A polyurethane finish is expensive, costing as much as $1,500 to $2,000 or more. The manufacturer also has the added cost of environmentally friendly disposal of the leftover paint materials.

The paint selection is another customer call, but over time the polyurethane system becomes the better buy.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.