Trucker backs into concrete post. Was this accident preventable?

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Updated Feb 28, 2022

It had already been a long morning for trucker John Doe when he pulled into Wacky Hal's Hardware and Dry Goods just outside Booger Hole, West Virginia.

"When I get this skid of quarter-inch washers off this truck, I'm heading straight to the closest Cupid's Heart Truck Stop for a mega-guzzle iced caramel coffee," Doe mumbled to himself as he pointed his trailer doors toward the loading dock. 

Wacky Hal's lot is uneven, with the building sitting in the lowest point. "Kind of down in a hole," Doe thought to himself. Nonetheless, the lot was empty. "This should be quick and easy." 

Doe checks his mirrors before slowly beginning to back toward the bay door when – THWACK. Doe failed to notice a series of three-feet-tall concrete posts, and one of them was now embedded in the trailer's ICC bumper. 

Was this accident preventable?

Doe's fleet safety manager cited him for a preventable accident, claiming that Doe unnecessarily created a blindside back by not lining up his rig with the loading dock, despite the fact there was ample room, adding Doe clearly didn't perform an adequate walk-around before attempting to back in. To add insult to injury, the fleet safety manager informed Doe that those "concrete posts" are called bollards and that 36-inches is actually a fairly tall one. "And they're bright yellow," he yelled. 

Doe appealed the decision (and the scolding), claiming that at just three-feet-tall, there was no way he could see the posts in the truck's mirrors regardless of what color they were, especially since the lot was sloped toward the building. 

The National Safety Council agreed with Doe's boss and ruled that Doe should have continuously checked his clearance, adding Doe could (and should) have requested that a store employee come outside and spot for him as he approached the dock.