Preventable or not? Trucker clipped by lane-changing motorist

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John Doe was driving in the center lane of a three-lane one-way highway when his straight truck was struck by a four-wheeler merging from the left lane. Was this a preventable accident?John Doe was driving in the center lane of a three-lane one-way highway when his straight truck was struck by a four-wheeler merging from the left lane. Was this a preventable accident?

At high noon, comforted by a family-size bag of tasty celery sticks in the passenger seat, John Doe was driving his straight pickup-and-delivery 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 Joe Bob Polk Sr.’s slow-moving sedan. Doe closed his cab in self-defense and remained in the center lane, preparing to pass Polk’s antique conveyance.

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

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-craved Polk.