Preventable or Not?

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Pizza-panicked polluter pounces on Doe



Preventable Untitled 1At high noon, comforted by a family-size bag of tasty celery sticks in the passenger seat, John Doe was driving his straight truck eastbound on a sunny stretch of three-lane one-way Porkpie Parkway near Ferndock, Ala. Rolling along in the center lane, Doe noticed that the left lane was polluted by a haze of blue smoke. A forest fire, perhaps?

Nope. The smoke was billowing from the rusty tailpipe of Mr. Joe Bob Rotweiller Sr.’s slow-moving 1955 Buick Roadmaster sedan – a two-tone sorta-blue vehicle celebrating 182,763.9 miles of faithful service with an unquenchable thirst for SAE 10W-40. Doe closed his cab in self-defense and remained in the center lane, preparing to pass Rotweiller’s antique conveyance.

At the same time, Rotweiller spied a sign that announced that Smurdley’s Pizza Palace was two blocks ahead on the right. Temporarily demented by an all-consuming craving for one of Smurdley’s pepperoni and double-cheese creations, Rotweiller zoomed into the center lane without using his turn signal, and WHUMMPPO! The center lane was occupied by Doe’s truck, which incurred some minor damage to its left rear wheel well. Rotweiller’s ride escaped unscathed.

John Doe was unable to keep his truck from being struck by a car that cut into his lane without warning. Was this a preventable accident?

Since Doe contested the preventable-accident ruling from his safety director, the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee was asked to render a final decision. NSC quickly ruled in Doe’s favor, noting that he could not have anticipated a wild lane-changeover by the pizza-crazed Rotweiller.