Preventable or not: A not-so-slick move

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Chevron Delo, a leading brand of lubricants and coolants from ChevronTexaco Products Co., has joined Mack Trucks as a major sponsor of the American Trucking Associations’ Share the Road highway safety program. The increased funding will enable ATA to expand its safety message into high school driver education classes and senior citizen groups. A radio and television public service announcement campaign also is under consideration.

Research and Special Programs Administration is extending until April 28 the comment period on its proposal to prohibit flammable liquids from being transported in unprotected product piping on existing and newly manufactured DOT specification cargo tank motor vehicles. For a copy of RSPA’s notice of proposed rulemaking, visit this site and search Docket No. 6223.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has combined two registration websites ( and to provide a more streamlined way for motor carriers, brokers, freight forwarders, hazardous materials carriers/shippers and cargo tank facilities to manage their registration process. To access this new website, visit this site and click on “FMCSA Registration & Updates.”

FMCSA has added a feature to its website to help businesses and individuals who operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce determine which federal safety regulations, if any, they must comply with. Visit this site.

At 10 a.m. on a beautiful March morning, John Doe was piloting his straight truck cautiously through a late-season Appalachian snowfall. Listening to his favorite Kenny Chesney song on satellite radio, Doe smiled at the thought of another colorful springtime at his South Carolina home and daydreamed about taking a long weekend off, hitching up his boat and heading to his favorite lake with his best buddies for some well-earned fun in the sun.

Doe was moving uphill at a turtle’s pace of 25 mph, in the right lane of a slick, four-lane highway. Ahead, the road curved fairly sharply to the left, hiding the fact that an 18-wheeler driven by Claude Segal was idling at a dead stop in the right lane, previously victimized by a wax-clogged fuel filter.

When Segal’s rig came into view, Doe checked his mirrors and started to move into the passing lane. At that instant, an inattentive Segal also decided that the left lane looked more attractive. As Segal’s truck started to move, Doe braked and came to a controlled stop, waiting for Segal to get up to speed. So far, so good.

Quickly rounding the blind curve and heading for the rear of Doe’s truck was a cherry-red, 1994 4 X 4 pickup truck (impressively tricked out with a lift kit, huge all-terrain tires and a loud 7.5L V8), confidently driven by cocky college freshman Dwayne Penobscott. Problem was, Penobscott’s sudden braking sent his truck into an uncontrollable skid, which terminated at Doe’s rear bumper. Wham!

Doe was shocked when his safety director hit him with a preventable-accident warning letter, charging that Doe had failed to monitor his mirrors and take evasive action. They asked that the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee resolve the dispute. After reviewing the evidence, the committee held Doe blameless, since he obviously had neither time nor opportunity to get out of harm’s way.