Preventable or not? Van crosses median, strikes truck

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Updated Apr 29, 2019

With twin trailers in tow, trucker John Doe was being especially careful. “No wild-turkey lane changes,” he reminded himself. Thankfully, four-lane I-7 was bone dry, lightly traveled that sunny afternoon and divided by a wide grassy median.

As an aid to concentration, Doe popped an especially crunchy celery stick into his mouth and turned up the CB, listening to entertaining comments about the “seat covers” in a pink Corvette convertible, with its top down, westbound at mile marker 125. But as he was starting to relax, movement in the median caught his eye. Great hoppin’ horny toads! There was an out-of-control Pop’s Pizza truck heading his way from the opposing traffic lanes!

Immediately, Doe took evasive action, but … CRASH! Then there was nothing but silence – and a section of highway littered with pepperoni and cheese. Both drivers were OK, but both vehicles were crunched, and Doe’s bag of celery sticks had flown out the window. Miraculously, both of his trailers remained with their dirty sides down.

Doe contested the preventable-accident warning letter he received from his safety director and asked that the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee decide the issue. NSC immediately ruled in Doe’s favor, noting that he’d been instantly alert to the danger ahead and had immediately attempted – albeit without success – to steer clear of the attacking vehicle.