Preventable of Not?


Doe rolled over by rollup door

Whumo Untitled 1The recent freight rebound had been generous to straight truck driver John Doe, as evidenced, in part, by his acquisition of two polychromatic battery-operated “Smurdley Super Strike” bass lures that emitted enticing noises, thrashed around a whole bunch and had LEDs to generate a light show. And to celebrate the good times, carrier management had stocked the drivers’ room with a selection of Acme cookies and eggnog. Wow! Alas, Doe’s good spirits were about to take a beating … along with an illegally parked Chevy van owned by Tasty Hot Lunch Inc.

The collision would occur at high noon under a cloudless sky as Doe had just pulled away from the freight dock of the local food distribution center and was proceeding cautiously down a narrow one-way exit road when he saw that his path was partially obstructed. The obstacle in question was a steaming Chevy lunchwagon van that’d dropped anchor in a no-parking zone to sell hot dogs, cheeseburgers and coffee to hungry freight handlers.

The lunchwagon driver opened both rear doors without warning, hitting Doe’s trailer. Was this a preventable accident?

Eyeballing the situation, Doe determined that clearance was adequate to squeak past the van, so he started to pass the lunchwagon at a snail’s pace. Just as Doe was about to clear the scene, the van’s driver, Jimmy Dorfman, stupidly swung open both rear doors, and the van’s left door was touching the side of Doe’s truck! Armed with the lightning reflexes of a professional truck driver, Doe detected the sudden door-opening maneuver in his shotgun-side West Coast mirror and instantly hit the brakes, but … WHUMP!

Oh no! The right rear corner of Doe’s truck had snagged the van’s door, crinkling it and causing a big box of wieners to cascade onto the tarmac! Since Doe contested the preventable-accident warning letter from his safety director, the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee was asked to make a final ruling. To Doe’s relief, NSC declared the accident nonpreventable, since Doe couldn’t have anticipated that dim-witted Dorfman suddenly would swing his door into Doe’s rig.