Preventable or Not? Doe’s rig goes slip-sliding away

By CCJ Staff on

John Doe’s lunch at the Roughrider Truck Stop outside Billings, Mont., had been enlivened by Bobby “Flatbed” Braswell’s tale of a tractor-trailer driver who’d fallen asleep at the wheel and rear-ended a passenger vehicle. Sued for damages, the motor carrier had successfully defended itself by documenting that its driver recently had been negligent in treating himself for sleep apnea and had been hiding it from his bosses.

At the moment, however, Doe’s attention was devoted to finding a suitable parking place for his 18-wheeler near the Billings Burgerhouse on Sweetbriar Road, where he was scheduled to deliver some buns. While there was ample room to park and offload freight on Sweetbriar, which was relatively flat and merely slushy, Doe wanted to get closer, so he inched his way into the establishment’s large, steeply inclined ice-covered lot and parked 10 feet behind a straight truck whose driver was busily engaged in munching a Billings Cheeseburger Supreme while updating his logs.

After John Doe parked his tractor-trailer in an icy steep parking lot, his rig slid into, and dented, a straight truck parked nearby. Was this a preventable accident?

Alas, the stage now was set for disaster. Departing his cab, Doe entered the Burgerhouse in search of the shift manager, only to be interrupted moments later by the arrival of the straight-truck driver who loudly proclaimed that Doe’s tractor had slid into, and dented, his brand new truck! Adding to the other driver’s dismay, the impact had caused his half-eaten burger to be thrown to the cab floor and ruined.

Since Doe contested the preventable-accident warning letter from his safety director, the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee was asked to resolve the conflict. NSC immediately ruled against Doe, noting that parking on the icy steep downgrade had been unnecessary and risky.


I commenced driving of straight trucks and semis around the 12 year old mark and in Wisconsin on the farm.  Winter rule #1, Respect the ice and do not trust it!!  Though shalt not park on an incline with ice, as the law of gravity compounded by dynamic tonnage should be expected to over come the coefficient of friction of ice to rubber.  Plain science, cannot cure STUPID.

Road Boss
Road Boss

I have driven for many years and many miles and when I read a article like this I do wish people would use the right terms. This guy is a truck steerer NOT a truck DRIVER

Gordon A
Gordon A

That would have been my decision too. He had a choice  where to park and chose the lazy way out. .


Hey Road Boss,  I was active Navy and working part time at a couple of trucking companies when the Diesel powered "ROAD BOSS" first came on the scene, any relation??  I agree whole heartidly, a truck steerer not "driver".  Since being in Europe years back I have given a few "truckers" a ration of crap over the CB about U.S. driver limitations/expertise on two trailers vs Europeans with 3 to 5, 15Meter units and just who has the right of way on the auto-strada.  A few drivers have been there as service members and seen the rigs and agreed that it just ain't gonna happen over here any time soon.  Pretty much my whole naval carrier, when I was not at sea I often worked as a mech for trucking out fits to supplement the Navy pay or just for pleasure.  From the middle '80 to date I have seen the professionalism of the "truck driver" wain.  Almost daily I hear on the radio of a semi on its side,  taking a nap,  due to excessive speed  on the interstate off ramp for that curve ahead, the laziness of signals at lane change and just plain no courtesy to one another while passing, so sad. 


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