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


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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