Preventable or not? Red-light runner rams truck’s rear end

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Updated Feb 17, 2021
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At noon, rain was falling on Mugwump Parkway. Northbound, John Doe was waiting for a chance to turn his tractor-trailer across the opposing traffic lane and enter the parking lot at Pearl’s Pizza Palace. “10-4 on the all-veggie special and diet soda,” mused Doe, who was watching his weight. Finally, confronted by a virtually empty stretch of road, Doe started his turn.

Simultaneously, far ahead in the southbound lane, Betsy Bibbel put the pedal to the metal in her sports car, seeking to beat the “pink” traffic light in her path. Traveling at warp speed, Bibbel shot through the intersection – and suddenly was faced with the last few feet of Doe’s trailer as it was disappearing into Pearl’s lot.

Bibbel miscalculated her closing speed and slammed into the right rear corner of Doe’s trailer. She wasn’t hurt, but when authorities arrived on the scene, they cited Doe for failure to yield right-of-way. He also got a warning letter from his safety director, who charged him with a preventable accident.

A flabbergasted Doe contested the decision, and the case was turned over to the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee. NSC ruled in Doe’s favor, since there was nothing he could have done to anticipate or ward off Bibbel’s mindless sneak attack.