Trucker backs into oncoming car. Was this accident preventable?

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Updated Apr 26, 2022

It's a bright and clear early-Spring morning in Bacon Level, Alabama, and trucker John Doe is backing his rig down a narrow road toward the loading dock at Doc's Rock Shop.

Doe has a load of snare drums to deliver but first has to back between two buildings down a narrow alley. Just as Doe grinds his 18 speed manual into reverse, the new hit single from Oozing Blisters, Doe's favorite Metal-Punk band, comes screeching out of the cab's stereo speakers. 

"I love this song," Doe exclaimed as he turned the volume dial to 11 and gently let off the clutch, rolling the trailer toward the dock. 

The back itself is fairly straightforward. There's plenty of room and a quick check of the West Coast mirrors shows no traffic. Doe throws up the rockin' devil horns and slowly rolls backward, waiting to feel the gentle bump against Doc's dock. 

THUWUMPABUMP. "There it is. Got there quicker than I thought," Doe said as he checked his mirrors again, only to see that he's still several feet from the unloading zone. "What in the name of Johnny Ramone?!" 

Engrossed in the tunes pouring from his radio speakers, Doe failed to see a car – driven by Doc himself – make a righthand turn onto the narrow road from a side street. Doe collided with the car and pushed it several feet before stopping his rig. And worse yet, the fingers that Doc was now holding up at Doe were not the rockin' devil horns. 

Was this accident preventable?

The fleet safety manager cited Doe for a preventable accident and for not checking his mirrors. Doe said the road was clear when he started to back, adding the car was at fault since it turned onto the road when Doe was already in motion. He appealed to the National Safety Council, which ruled that Doe, indeed, should have made better use of his mirrors, adding that if Doe's radio wasn't so loud maybe he could have heard Doc's blaring horn.