It had snowed earlier in the day. The weather was extremely cold, and the roads still had not been fully cleared. John Doe gently made a right turn into a shipper’s driveway, only to find another tractor-trailer at the customer’s loading dock, and another rig waiting. He initially pulled well into the driveway – far enough to keep from blocking the parking lot entrance near the road. This partially blocked the entrance leading to the shipper’s warehouse.
Knowing he had to reach another shipper nearby whose warehouse would soon close, John decided it would be smart to head right for the other shipper’s facility first.
Just then, the truck that had been unloading started out of the parking lot at the customer’s dock. Because John blocked this driver’s turn into the driveway, he slipped his transmission into reverse and carefully and slowly began backing up to avoid penning this driver in. His plan was to back right into the road for the trip to the other shipper and let the other driver out. He centered his vehicle in the driveway and prepared to back onto the road.
Just then, a passenger car driver decided to enter the access road behind John’s rig.
Fortunately, he was checking both mirrors and saw the car turning in. He immediately applied just enough brakes to bring his vehicle quickly to a stop without skidding in the snow.
Just as John’s truck stopped and he began heaving a sigh of relief, he heard a crunching sound. He applied the parking brake and jumped out of the cab, only to have the other driver yell at him, “Look at what you did to my car!”
Not exactly. The car driver had plowed right into the rear of John’s trailer.
John called the police department, which filed a report showing only that John and the car driver exchanged information. John searched his glove box for a camera but found only a forgotten ration of Gummy Bears.
John’s fleet’s safety department declared the accident preventable, but his fleet’s separate accident review committee declared it non-preventable. To break the tie, his safety officer asked the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee to review the case, and forwarded all the applicable documents.
The Collision Review Committee declared the accident non-preventable, saying, “The professional driver stopped his unit when he saw the other vehicle; however, the other vehicle’s driver failed to stop and struck the commercial vehicle while it was at rest. There was nothing the professional driver could have done to prevent this collision.”