Preventable or not?

The deadline for entries in the 2005 ATA National Truck Safety Contest and the Industrial Safety Contest is April 15. Forms are available for download at this site.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will establish an advisory committee on how to tighten standards for driver’s licenses and state-issued personal identification cards so they might be used for federal identification purposes.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is sponsoring a study by the University of Maryland regarding how information technology is being used to improve safety management in the motor carrier industry. The study is one element of a larger, multiyear initiative to study the safety and financial performance of the motor carrier industry by commodity segment. For more information, visit this site and search Docket No. 20140.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has signed a bill that will allow third parties to give the skills tests required to obtain commercial driver’s licenses. The new law permits state police to designate a private driver training facility or private instructor as qualified to perform the tests.

Douglas L. Faler (also known as Douglas L. Bertella), a former truck driver with G&C Farms, LLC, Bridgeport, Neb., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Omaha to a one-count indictment charging him with falsely representing a Social Security account number not assigned to him on a commercial driver’s license (CDL) application.

John Doe almost had finished hauling a load of furniture from the west side of Texas (El Paso, to be exact) all the way to the east end of the gargantuan state (Beaumont, specifically). And even though it was one of the longest hauls he’d made in ages, he was as happy as he’d been in a long time.

The reason for Doe’s good spirits? With the market for drivers tighter than it had been in at least a decade, Doe’s carrier had just given its drivers a big, fat raise, and Doe’s bosses had promised that future work schedules would allow him and his fellow road warriors to spend more weekends at home. Finally!

The good times had arrived, Doe thought as he steered his straight job down a one-way three-lane street near Beaumont’s industrial area. Just ahead was the road where he needed to turn left, and the furniture distributor’s warehouse would be only minutes away.

Moving into the left-turn-only lane, Doe stopped for the red light and daydreamed about how he would spend his bigger paycheck. At that moment, teenager Bud Davis was fast approaching from behind, dominating the center lane in his super-loud street rod and moving rapidly toward the light where Doe was stopped and waiting.

The traffic signal turned green before the lead-footed Davis reached the intersection, and Doe started a routine, ho-hum wide left turn … but this one was made memorable by a loud “wham!” as his right front fender connected, solidly, with the left rear fender of Davis’ souped-up pride and joy. Bummer!

Doe contested the preventable-accident letter from his safety director, claiming that he had no time to react because Davis was speeding. Asked to decide the issue, the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee (after reviewing accident photos of both vehicles) upheld the “preventable” decision, concluding that Doe should have seen the approaching vehicle, and that his turn had been a bit wide.