Operator hits overhead door while exiting — could trucker have prevented it?

| January 02, 2015

After truck operator John Doe pulled the loading dock at a grocery store, a staff member of the facility lowered the dock’s overhead door, which Doe hit on his way out. Could he have prevented the accident?

Truck driver John Doe pulled up to a dock at a grocery story on a chilly morning, calling upon store staff to raise the overhead door so he could back his rig to the dock. 

About half of his tractor stuck out behind the building once he was docked. 


Hard braking causes small load to come loose — Could trucker have prevented it?

A trucker in front of John Doe panic-stopped to avoid a deer, so Doe also hit the brakes hard, causing a tied-down drum to break ...

The store’s manager directed the unloading process, and Doe walked through the grocery store to get some snack, a cup of coffee and some fajitas for lunch. 

He wasn’t at the dock when the overhead door was lowered partially, just above the level of his tractor’s roof, so that the facility wouldn’t lose as much heat. 

After he checked out, he returned to his tractor, swapped paperwork with the store’s manager and climbed back into his tractor. He cranked the truck and started to exit when he bumped the door, fragments of which fell loudly onto his cab. 

His stack was dinged, and to make matters worse, he received a preventable accident warning from his carrier later. 

He contested the claim, saying the store’s manager should have warned him about the door. 

Was it a preventable accident? The National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee offered the final verdict, ruling in favor of the carrier, saying Doe should have checked clearance before departing the dock. A simple glance up would have revealed his lack of clearance, the board said. 

This was an adaptation of Overdrive sister site CCJ‘s “Preventable or not?” series, which appears regularly on CCJdigital.com.


    preventable! after getting his paper work on his way back to his truck he should have been doing a visual inspection of his truck, see that dock lock is released, tires etc.. before entering his truck he would have seen the door was not all the way up.

  • Dave Hash

    Always check overhead doors. Completely preventable.

  • Thomas Smith

    I hit a garage door when bacing into a bldg. in ark. it had stopped a foot before it was fully open. not at fault.

  • shogdit

    Always get out and look, no excuses.

  • Gavin

    I agree that it was preventable, but I also agree with the driver. He really should have checked the clearance of the door, but should have been warned or even stopped when he got into his rig. They should have noticed that he was leaving and even remembered that the door was down. I know that I would have stopped to tell him and even have someone stand in front of his truck until the door was up. Just as added precautions.

  • Michelle

    Preventable, for sure, but the warehouse manager could have been proactive and made it a point to advise the driver they closed the door partially. And, yes, the driver should have noticed it on his own, but too often communication is lacking in this industry, and we can all do more to help each other out.

  • hogi

    What a bunch of pious commenters. If that manager had to pay for the door every time it was taken out after he lowered it w/out notifying the driver. He would buy a coat instead. It’s not ordinary caution to assume that obstacles already navigated have changed positions and the change in door height might not have been readily apparent from the ground.

  • localnet

    Driver should have noticed, this has happened to me. I caught it in time, and because of that experience, I now make it a point to look when I am anywhere near a door.

  • Dan Roe

    Never assume, always check. The only way it may not have been a preventable, if the store personnel was guiding him out. Even then it’s still iffy.

  • Gil Wortsmann

    Not replying to any other message in particular. Just an aside. The receiving company has no responsibility for the driver …..up to the loading platform. The DOT controls the area up to the dock. After that, it becomes an OSHA responsibility.
    This is why companies do not want drivers anyplace near the dock. (Of course, this cannot always be helped.) We required a circle check before a driver gets into the cab……which if done correctly, does not require a complete walk around the vehicle.
    The driver will either approach the vehicle from the front, back or side. Therefore, he has only one more side to view.
    PA and NY
    State Certified CDL Trainer/Trainer

  • vickie Lee thomas

    You’re wrong. Otherwise why are drivers still required to unload trucks. Unless you hire a lumper service you’re still stuck unloading. We shouldn’t have to do the loading/unloading. We are paid to get the load from point A to point B. It’s not our freight. But back to the main issue-he should have looked up.

  • http://batman-news.com Magilla

    You know how to not have to unload a truck? Don’t do it , if they really want it they’ll unload it .

  • http://batman-news.com Magilla

    If someone is guiding you as you back in or pull out then it’s on them if they let you hit something.

  • Kenneth

    Always check your trucks surroundings for any problems . New dents or damage to your trailer or truck caused by you or the dock employees . You are in command of your truck it is your reponceabilty . And dam sure is once you push in the parking brake.

  • vickie Lee thomas

    I don’t anymore after 43 years I figured these old bones were made for driving not lumping.

  • Hal Kiah

    The driver is Always responsible for his movements, and equipment. whether going to or from a loading dock, doing pre and post trips, fueling, insuring loads are put on properly and securement is adequate, Everything. Sorry, but the driver was at fault for not checking his surroundings to insure a safe exit from the facility. It goes along with the older G.O.A.L. reminder, “When in doubt (even if there IS no doubt) Get Out And Look” you never know when things around your equipment is going to be moved or changed.
    Hal Kiah
    North American Trucking Alerts.com

  • Just Smile and Knod

    Actually it’s not. Whether or not you have a guide, you’re in control of your vehicle. If there’s any question as to clearance or other obstacles, it’s YOUR responsibility to Get Out And Look.

  • http://batman-news.com Magilla

    I guess I’m thinking of different situations than just bumping docks or going under a roll up door, in this situation yes double check roll up doors.

  • http://www.aptosindustries.com Louis

    A simple fix for the building owner is the Roll Up Door Guard (www.aptosindustries.com) , a patented collision prevention device for all types of overhead doors. Earn extra money at your next stop with a simple referral. Call (831)661-0213

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