Preventable or Not? Dump truck dips into Doe’s path

By CCJ Staff on
CCJ_0213_Preventable.indd

Avoiding a collision with an out-of-control dump truck, John Doe steered his tractor-trailer into a snow bank, snapping off part of his bumper. Was this a preventable accident?

Two days earlier, Old Man Winter had dumped two feet of wet snow on two-lane Rambler Road, leaving icy ruts that made driving a challenge for trucker John Doe. To keep up his spirits, Doe was being radio-active, philosophizing on the CB about rotten road conditions, deer rifles, bass boats and other fascinating topics.

Driving his salt-spray-covered tractor slowly and cautiously, Doe witnessed the rapid approach of a Mack dump truck in the opposing traffic lane and … Great jumpin’ gophers! The Bulldog had tripped over a deep rut and had been thrown … Oh no! … It was dead ahead on a collision course!

Reacting instantly, Doe spun his steering wheel hard-right, causing his tractor to swing off the road and gently impact a snow bank, thereby snapping off the breakaway right side of his bumper. With vast relief, Doe watched the out-of-control dump slide gracefully past. Aside from its bumper, Doe’s rig was unscathed, and he was able to pull back on the road and resume his run.

But it took four celery sticks for Doe to regain his composure when his safety director charged him with a preventable accident, which he promptly contested. Asked to render a final decision, the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee ruled in Doe’s favor, saying that he had avoided a collision by moving to the right, which was his only option.

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15 comments
Randy B
Randy B

As a Safety Coordinator I agree with NSCARC. A report should or will be placed his his file for further driver history and charactor report as this could become his standard to deflect blame on all occurrances.

Randy B
Randy B

As a Safety Coordinator I will accept the story as told to me from the driver and NOT find the driver at fault. I would check the climatic reports prior to the date and verify conditions are as told.  A note would be placed into his file for further reference should this become a norm for this driver. Is there a possibility that the driver caused this occurrance without the road conditions or another vehicle? Yes, but I have no proof to counter his claim. Driver's log, driver's history and charactor all come into play to arrive at this finding.

Gordon A
Gordon A

An opinion was asked for based on the information presented. It seems that far too many here are assuming way too much and wanting to blame the driver with far fetched conditions, what if's and in the past   and other non nonessential  verbiage. . What happened to the dump truck is past tense. After the fact.  Some of you need to reread the  story again. Simply put. Read the story. Add nothing. Take nothing and base your decision on presented facts. Not  hearsay, past experiences and what if's.

 

Mike Derr
Mike Derr

What happened to the dump truck? it slid gracefully past regaining his control on the icy road, the momentum didn't force him into the shoulder on the opposite side of the road? how do we know the driver was not inattentive and drifted off of the road, were there any witnesses to collaporate the drivers story about a dump truck, I have heard this story a hundred times about the driver who was a hero because he avoided the headon accident when in reality he dozed off or was adjusting the radio and drifted off the road, unless he has a drivecam or something else to back up his story I would say it was preventable.

Gordon A
Gordon A

As long as we are talking about insurance I have some info you may not like. If a person deliberately rams your car or runs you off the road and admits it to the cops and it goes into the report neither insurance company has to pay you for damages or replace you vehicle.  This I found out when our niece was ran off the road and the woman that did it admitted to trying to kill her. I checked with the insurance company and was told neither one was going to pay.  The insurance commission of OK told me that that is the way it is in EVERY insurance company. Can only be changed by legislation.

SafetyChic
SafetyChic

As a former driver, and now a safety consultant, I would say it was a non-preventable incident, not an accident, even.

Why?  The driver anticipated the forseen crash of a head on which would've resulted in vehicle damage, injury, and possibly even death(s). Had there not been a snow bank, he would have probably just hit the shoulder, and rode it out. Mr. Doe,  did all that a reasonable person could do, in the circumstances that he was in, thus avoiding a major crash, and the resulting liablities.

 

Any insurance company that would prefer a head on crash vs. a snow bank, in my opinion is nuts!

 

Now to get off the subject a bit; These insurance companies, and people who write the drivers license handbook (this may be gone by now) who say "always stay on the road way" have never driven a large truck! Would they want this truck to stay on the roadway, if it were their child in the school bus that was headed towards a truck? Most likely not! I can also see all the items that the driver would be charged for if in fact, he/she stayed on the road, and was hit by the coming bus, and FAILED to take all of the preventable actions that were available to him/her.

1. Failure to yield to uncoming vehicle

2. Driving to fast for the circumstances

3. Any violation(s) that would pertain to lights on the truck that would've hampered the bus driver to visablity of the truck,

and I am sure the list could be added to.

EZDUZIT
EZDUZIT

I was talking with a driver who had to explain hitting a deer. When his safety department ask "how could you have avoided the deer", the driver replied " by not coming to work today". This situation is simular. Sometimes a driver makes the wrong decision, but Doe had only one option to avoid the dump truck.

 

Gordon A
Gordon A

Witchdoctor, Until drivers stick together nothing will happen. Companies do not like to hire free thinkers because they wont stick around long. Drivers today are job scared and are afraid to say enough is enough.  Companies have BS'd drivers into thinking that their company is the best and continue to allow themselves to be treated like under paid slaves.  some dispatchers have down beaten some drivers into thinking that no none else will hire them and they believe it.  

Come work for us and we will install a  a Tri Pac and a inverter in the truck.

Unfortunately far too many drivers are not qualified to drive a truck and we have no choice but to share the road with them. Carriers talk about being family orientated but seldom ever demonstrate it in daily course of work.  It is not all the carriers nor the drivers fault. We have this uncontrollable group called the FMCSA that is is doing every thing it can to destroy  the free enterprise and trucking.  CSA, FMCSA, and all this  CARB crap with CA is not doing anything positive for trucking.

David McQueen
David McQueen

The committee ruled correctly.  I was always taught that if you have time to react to a head-on crash with another vehicle, do NOT drive off the road because you'll be charged with a preventable accident.  With no damage to your truck except that which occurred due to you deliberately driving off the road, the safety department will always charge you with a preventable.  Applying critical thought to that, the safety department implies that you should stay on the hardtop and let the other vehicle hit you.  A driver may then infer that he should deliberately fail to avoid a collision ( he shouldn't "do everything in his power to avoid an accident").  Some of these safety types need to know more than OSHA and FMCSA regs. 

Randal
Randal

Yes, it is preventable. Every accident is, well about 99 % of them are. The driver of the truck that slid off into a snow emabankment should have seen the on coming truck in his lane way before he got to the point of making a right turn into the ditch.The other driver continued on his way, that should be leaving the scene of an accident. Keep your eyes open and always have an out...

WitchDoctor
WitchDoctor

Why is it every move that we make in a Semi is wrong this day and time .I've been on the road for 26 yrs had one accident that wasnt my fault the lady got a ticket for illegal lane change no license no ins. and she drove off after accident . when are we going to say enough is enough ??

David McQueen
David McQueen

I've read enough court cases about CARB to know two things:  One is that CARB is a fascist part of the Kalifornia Union of Liberal Socialism and, two, I'm still glad I live in Texas (regardless of the weather).

BarbRRB
BarbRRB

 @David McQueen staying on the "hardtop" is what my insurance company said too. Very upsetting to hear this. My Insurance goes by the guide lines. What ever is written, must enforce. Thanks to our over powered states and government, they have to be politically correct and have nothing to do with common scenes. 

Gordon A
Gordon A

Randal !    I understand what you said but in reality it just doesn't  happen like that.  In this case the person that allowed the dump truck to become  runaway is at fault more so than anyone else. Not the driver that tried to avoid  the impact.  We do not always get to see the oncoming vehicle in our lane for one or two miles. It usually is one or two seconds and  that is the MAX time you have to make a decision. Some times the driver of the errant  vehicle does something that puts you at a higher risk than you were earlier one second ago. The driver Doe did the right thing. He avoided a crash that could have resulted in a death. He minimized the damage. This is not a case with out snow or using drugs or being drunk. A scenario only.

 

Dirty
Dirty

 @WitchDoctor  WE can say anything WE want! The problem is that WE don't do ANYTHING to stop this travesty. WE pull the goods that make Society's lives nice and comfortable ! WE let THEM run roughshod over us..WE are the problem and WE are the solution!

 I've been talking STRIKE for 25 years, and no one wants to listen,they all say really intelligent things like "Shut up stupid", and other comments. I have ALWAYS been willing to stand up and be the first guy to tell legislators that we as a collective of professionals,, will NO longer tolerate,, what they do! WHY is diesel so high? Because, My friends, WE let them SCREW us and WE don't stand up to them like we used to. Preventable accidents? I believe that almost all accidents are preventable, and I believe that THEY let unsafe driers on the road. Both in trucks and other commercial vehicles and in automobiles as well.

 Talk is cheap, ACTION SPEAKS VOLUMES!

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