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

| June 20, 2014
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.

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