Peering through an early-morning shroud of fog on the rural nearly-vacant Holstein Highway, tractor-trailer driver John Doe was rolling along at the posted speed limit of 55 mph while swapping entertaining tales of sadistic dispatchers with trucker Milly Moohouse, whose unit was about five miles ahead. To enhance his attention to the driving task, Doe extracted a green Gummy Bear and popped it into his mouth. “Hey, Milly … yuck, yuck … did I ever tell yah about the time that … Holy Catfish!!!”
Suddenly, there was an ominous silence on Channel 19 while Doe, dropping his mike and attempting to force the brake peddle through the floor, applied a two-fisted death grip to his steering wheel. The cause of his distress was Graham Grumbly, the visually impaired driver of a battered pickup truck who’d initially obeyed a stop sign on a side road but, apparently oblivious, had decided to pull onto Holstein Highway and into the path of the 18-wheeler!
Unfortunately, Doe’s panic stop did nothing but flat-spot several tires before his tractor rammed the side of Grumbly’s pickup. Luckily, Grumbly sustained no serious injuries. Later, Doe contested the preventable-accident warning letter from his safety director, claiming that his tractor’s low beams had been on, that he hadn’t been speeding and that the other driver’s stupidity was to blame.
Asked to resolve the dispute, the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee upheld the preventable ruling. While Doe admitted to seeing the pickup’s lights at the stop sign, he’d made no effort to slow down and/or sound his air horn in anticipation of the other driver blindly pulling onto the foggy highway.