Preventable or not? Red-light runner rams truck’s rear end

A four-wheel driver slammed into the right rear corner of John Doe’s trailer as it was crossing the roadway. Was this a preventable accident?

A four-wheel driver slammed into the right rear corner of John Doe’s trailer as it was crossing the roadway. Was this a preventable accident?

At noon, rain was falling on Mugwump Parkway. Northbound, John Doe was waiting for a chance to turn his tractor-trailer across the opposing traffic lane and enter the parking lot at Pearl’s Pizza Palace. “10-4 on the all-veggie special and diet soda,” mused Doe, who was watching his weight. Finally, confronted by a virtually empty stretch of road, Doe started his turn.

Simultaneously, far ahead in the southbound lane, Betsy Bibbel put the pedal to the metal in her bright blue Trans Am Formula 350, seeking to beat the “pink” traffic light in her path. Traveling at warp speed, Bibbel shot through the intersection – and suddenly was faced with the last few feet of Doe’s trailer as it was disappearing into Pearl’s lot.

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Bibbel miscalculated her closing speed and slammed into the right rear corner of Doe’s trailer. She wasn’t hurt, but when authorities arrived on the scene, they cited Doe for failure to yield right-of-way. He also got a warning letter from his safety director, who charged him with a preventable accident.

A flabbergasted Doe contested the decision, and the case was turned over to the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee. NSC ruled in Doe’s favor, since there was nothing he could have done to anticipate or ward off Bibbel’s mindless sneak attack.

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32 comments
mrtmrsh
mrtmrsh

I forgot to ask, was he a teamster, because if he was a teamster they are always innocent and there would be absolutely nothing he could have done because he was counting his money or thinking about buying a big boat. 

Tolaran
Tolaran

It's non-preventable since she hit the rear corner of the trailer which means that the trailer was in full view across her lane of traffic allowing her adequate time to either stop or slow down. She also failed to stop on the amber light. If she had struck the front corner it would be preventable because, as the police said, he failed to yield right of way. In this case however he had given a reasonable amount of time to assume that the intersection was clear since the majority of his trailer had already cleared the intersection.

JimDean2
JimDean2

Just like I say most accidents are preventable the driver should at least take a few more seconds to pay attention before he crossed I would say for this incident it is preventable

JamesEvans1
JamesEvans1

I learned safety is against the drivers and just being on the road makes any and all accidents a preventable accident. 7/4/10 I was working for JB Hunt on the Jack in the Box account. I was heading to my last delivery so I was very light and I approached a very minor downgrade into a small bridge into a very minor upgrade which was a curve as well. Right before I crossed the bridge there was a little intersection on the opposite side of the road that was very hard to see unless a car pulled out from it, which happened and this vehicle crossed two lanes of the opposite direction then crossed the center divide and crossed two lanes into my lane and I slammed on my breaks once I realized she was coming in my lane and she panicked and instead of accelerating she slowed down and I hit her about five miles per hour. The driver claimed full responsibility, the California Highway Patrol said it was not my fault and wrote the report as not my fault, I had a witness who was passing right as it happened who was a retired Fire Chief and said it was not my fault and thought I was going to kill her and thought I did a good job preventing a bigger accident and the insurance adjuster for JB Hunt said it was not my fault. The next day I get to work and I'm told I'm being suspended for 3 days because it was my fault the accident happened because as soon as I saw a car pull out I should have slammed on my breaks and slow down to 45 miles per hour. So apparently with JB Hunt every time you see a vehicle that you think may come into your path your supposed to slam on your breaks and slow down to 45 miles per hour and cause an accident behind you which I guess is ok as long as its not in front of you. They told me straight up that safety is against you so I have learned since then never trust safety and always have a police report to back you.

mrtmrsh
mrtmrsh

@JamesEvans1  What you have experienced is corruption at it's finest. Think about it, you go look for a new job and they see accident, this gives JB Clowns a better chance to hang on to you.

JimDeal
JimDeal

Betsy Bibbel sues.guess who will pay out? I agree with the safety director.

mrtmrsh
mrtmrsh

Most accidents are preventable, and the day someone says it was my fault I will fall over dead, now a good camera would have shown how far away she really was. There are to many that assume once I block their path they have to stop, of course that has nothing to do with the fact that they may not be able to.

Tolaran
Tolaran

One would correctly assume that since she hit the rear of the trailer that the trailer had been in the intersection for a long time. You know how long it takes for 70 feet of truck and trailer to get around a left turn. It's not like the truck jumped out in front of her and cleared the intersection in the blink of an eye.

mrtmrsh
mrtmrsh

@Tolaran  Well I have said over and over again, you have to drive both vehicles because you know most people have their head up their butt, their body is in the car but they left their brain at home. So you just have to assume that the clown coming at you can't see you every time and this will never happen to you.

Brucedwight
Brucedwight

Maybe the safety director needs to go back to class and get out from behind the desk, looks to me he/she sided with the ticket given and did no investigation.

umbrellabagger
umbrellabagger

I'm not an expert, but the ruling seems fair to me. Particularly because "Bibbel miscalculated her closing speed," which seems to place blame on the party.

Wayne
Wayne

Well, again I feel compelled by this incident to fall back on the "Blame everything on the truck driver mentality." Not once in this scenario is it mentioned that the Blue Trans Am was charged with Speed unreasonable while approaching a traffic signal. Now when someone makes a decision to cross lanes it is always a judgement call. Is the car traveling at a reasonable speed? Are the weather conditions appropriate for me to safely make the turn? Etc...  There was no way for John Doe to know that Betsy B. in her fancy Blue Sports car was going to accelerate to beat a red light. Furthermore in this scenario, Could Betsy Bimbo not see out her windshield that there was a truck turning just past the intersection she was about to speed thru. Had Betsy B. hit the closer towards the front of the truck then this scenario would hold more merit for me. But IMO this incident was caused by the blue car not the truck. Day to day delivery drivers are faced with this scenario everyday.

When will it be accepted that cars (4 wheelers) take the blame when an incident involves a truck, CDL drivers are suppose to be professionals, but maybe some crackerjack box licenses need to be revoked from some of the people driving cars. Just a random thought.

superior trucking
superior trucking

All of our trucks now have forward looking recording video. It does not matter what you think or what you know...only what you can prove. If the auto did run the light it will be on the video and prove it was not the drivers fault AND give grounds for the company to recover damages.

John McNeilly
John McNeilly

The people in the best position to make a judgement were at the scene to investigate. Doe was cited for failing to yield. That should be case closed. How the NSC's ARC arrived at the decision they did is curious. Regardless of the car's intentions or speed, we are to not to start a turn across traffic UNLESS it there is no doubt that can be completed safely without causing the oncoming vehicle, to brake, change lanes or impact our vehicle. We failed to do that. The truck driver failed to exercise due diligence that the car just might be accelerating. They should not have turned when they did.

john3347
john3347

I am going to have to side with Doe on this one.  It seems that when he initiated the turn he had time and space to complete it without tangling with another vehicle.  The written account of the accident states that Bibbel accelerated her vehicle in an attempt to beat a red light and was traveling considerably faster at the time of impact than when Doe began his turn.  In other words, she speeded up while he was in front of her making his turn.  He had time to safely make his turn when he began his turn.  Bibbel speeded up to beat the light and was traveling at an excessive speed at the moment of impact..  Doe had no way to have prevented that.

GayleH
GayleH

questioning the term 'virtually empty'...if the sketch is correct, the blue vehicle WAS approaching the intersection - and even in my personal vehicle, I don't attempt a turn in front of an approaching vehicle until I'm sure it's going to stop.  Just saying.

MASTERMECH48
MASTERMECH48

Sounds like once again, the "AUTHORITIES" executed bias and went for the BIG GUY, after all semi's always cause it don't they. Just how much accident investigation did his safety director do here?? Rubber stamper.  If I had been J. Doe a grievance of misconduct on the part of the safety director would have been filed with the employer, the insurance carrier with info copies to local DOT office.

 

 

 

 

 

David McQueen
David McQueen

Because the trucker had stopped and waited until the southbound lanes were "virtually empty", the trucker had done everything he could to make the turn safely.  In fact, but for the 4-wheeler's gross negligence (deliberately running an orange-to-red light), there wouldn't have been ANY crash.  The safety director who claimed it was "preventable" was only doing his job.  He has to determine these accidents are "preventable" to justify his position.

TONEYF
TONEYF

Its always the truckers fault, at least all the cops do, that way they get bigger fines from the driver's.