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

By CCJ Staff on
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.

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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22 comments
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.

GaryMetilly
GaryMetilly

 @John McNeilly Wrong, the driver of the car is totally at fault since the truck was almost completed his turn. 

nick
nick

 @John McNeilly

 Wrong, if you have turned a 53 foot trailer and are almost through an intersection before you are hit, the person hitting you is at fault. the other drivers are JUST as responsible for their actions and that includes running a red light and striking a very large and obvious target.

nick
nick

 @GayleH

 if I am at a light and it is turning yellow as I turn, the dildo who runs the light is at fault

BennKingsbury
BennKingsbury

 @MASTERMECH48

 Submitting complaints to the local DOT office will fall on deaf ears...trust me they don't care to get involved in company policies and/or disclipinary action(s).  As for filing a grievance with upper management, it may work but again most likely will fall on deaf ears.  Submitting a complaint to the insurance carrier might work as some insurance carrier are willing to take a second look at the accident claim but this may also back fire on the driver too.  Most drivers don't know when to zip the lips and will sink themselves by saying to much at the wrong time.  The insurance carrier could find the driver is a risk and order the motor carrier to release the driver (trust me they can and do).  The best bet is to follow the company policy on accident review rules (if you have such) or just live and learn.

 

BennKingsbury
BennKingsbury

 @David McQueen

I was a truck driver for 20 years now the safety director of a local regional company.  I see both sides of this situation but I have to agree with the safety director and cops here.  Reason:  virtually empty is the key here.  If in doubt, sit and wait.  I rather have my drivers wait an extra 15-seconds then waste one or more hours now on an accident (such as this case).  NTS wasn't there and didn't see the end results in real time; only see paper and photographic evidence.  The driver MUST use due-regard when cross any intersection with or without traffic around.  In this case the driver could have waited then proceed across into the driveway.

TONEYF
TONEYF

 @David McQueen A true statement, to justify his position and to de-mine the trucking company and the driver.

John McNeilly
John McNeilly

 @GayleH Nick,

If you are at a light and it turned yellow, and you have not made the attempt to stop prior to entering the intersection, then no, the other party is not at fault, you are. You are to to make a  reasonable attempt to stop on a yellow. Only if it is more unsafe to attempt to stop is it allowable to enter and continue through the intersection on a yellow.

nick
nick

 @BennKingsbury  @David McQueen

 Wrong....Read my post above. I was an accident investigator for 15 years and am now a safety director. Directors need something called common sense

Paul L
Paul L

 @BennKingsbury

 I agree with your assessment of Nick's remarks.  Safety Directors don't need to call something preventable to justify their position.  If a Safety Director never has to make a preventable decision because there never are any crashes then he/she has justified their position.  I would need more details to make a better decision on Doe but from the description I was thinking not preventable also.  The question would be could Doe see the light and the car in the distance and thought it was enough room under normal circumstances?  If so, I could see this as preventable since Doe only needed to wait until the light was red to start his turn.  I think the car driver is at fault and should have been cited since the crash happened to the rear of the trailer.  The auto driver should travel a safe and prudent speed and be alert enough to make adjustment to avoid a crash.  The question is not about who is at fault but weather Doe's did everything reasonable to prevent this crash.  Based on the information provided I would have to agree with the NSC and rule this non-preventable. 

BennKingsbury
BennKingsbury

 Nick:  for someone that claims to be in a position of authority...name calling, belittling, and flaming other's opinion is inappropriate and uncalled for; also I reread the entire comments listed above and you never claimed "above" as you state now that you were an accident investigator/safety director.  Sorry but your current behavior and actions denote that you are not or do not have the mental-mentality to be such.

 

ejeuler
ejeuler

@BennKingsbury  Not once did Nick call you names, belittle you or flame you.  He simply disagreed with you.  It seems you are the one who should take a look in the mirror.  People in authority are always going to be challenged.  Look at the facts - you've just cited someone for actions against you they are not guilty of. Please, take a deep breath and consider that just because you are a safety director does not mean you're always right, nor do you have, or should you have the last word in all situations.  Your reaction to Nick's comments is an emotionally defensive reflex, and "your current behavior and actions denote that you too may not have the "mental-mentality" to be such".... in my opinion.  And no, I don't have slightest idea who Nick is, nor do I care. 

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