Giant oak branch mangles truck driver's trailer. Was this accident preventable?

On the sunny, fateful day of his accident, tractor-trailer driver John Doe was headed southbound on a two-lane, two-way stretch of road. Posted at 35 mph, the tree-lined rural road was a heavily traveled truck route, hosting a steady stream of tall trailers. 

Just as Doe glanced down at his radio… “BOOM!! CRACK!!”…. What just happened?

Doe activated his right turn signal and pulled off the road to investigate. To his surprise, a giant oak branch now adorned his 13’ 6” trailer, mangling the right front corner.

Claiming he had no control over Mother Nature lowering a limb, Doe contested the preventable accident warning letter from his safety director. Asked to resolve the issue, the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee upheld the “preventable” ruling. NSC decided that Doe must have drifted off the edge of the road in order to hit the hefty limb.

CCJ's Preventable or Not series is sponsored by CarriersEdge, creator of interactive online training for small and midsize fleets, including comprehensive safety, compliance and best practices content for truck drivers. To learn more, visit