Truck operator backs into on-the-move pancake patron — Could he have prevented the accident?

| August 29, 2014

Preventablepg40Truck operator John Doe was headed down Route 99 on his way to his next delivery — a pancake house.

As the sun rose, Doe seemed to be the only vehicle on the highway.

When he got to the pancake house, it was closed, and the parking lot was empty, except for a small Toyota.

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Truck operator John Doe hit the brakes and swerved to avoid a car cutting in front of him, but the collision damaged his right front ...

Doe saw it belonged to a too-soon patron, and then he went back to work backing into the lot of the restaurant.

What he didn’t notice, however, was that the patron had returned to the Toyota and had started blindly backing out.

Without notice from either, the Toyota was suddenly directly in the path of Doe’s trailer, and he backed directly into it, caving in her trunk.

He was later hit with a preventable accident warning from his carrier, which he contested.

The National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee was called in to make a final decision. It ruled against Doe, saying he should have anticipated the possible departure by the Toyota and should have sounded his alarm to alert the vehicle’s driver before backing into the parking lot.

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

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  • Richard

    I always honk when reversing. He should have, too. It’s just good practice, and you can NEVER predict what someone will do. That being said, if he was mobile enough the 4-wheeler should have seen it.

  • vickie Lee thomas

    How come the dummy in the car walks away Scott free? I have a backup beeper on my truck and they still pull in behind me. Horns and beeper do not stop idiots.

  • Jim Kennedy

    If the 4 wheeler hadn’t noticed the truck backing up into its path, do you really believe a horn/siren would have made a difference ??

  • Craig Vecellio

    This is a good example of the difference between fault and preventability. Since the restaurant wasn’t open yet, the 4 wheeler had no real reason to be there, but since John Doe was making a delivery, he did. It clearly wasn’t John Doe’s fault. However, without sounding his horn, the car driver may not have known he was there. It’s no guarantee, but his horn may have been the alert the car driver needed. That’s ‘preventable.’ It means he could have done more to avoid or prevent the accident, even it it wasn’t his fault. I doubt the car driver got away ‘Scott free.’ I’m sure his insurance company had some hard questions for him.

  • Craig Vecellio

    Maybe, maybe not. Without using the horn, you don’t know. That’s what makes it preventable. If he had used his horn and the car still backed into him, the NSCARC might well have ruled in his favor.

  • Craig Vecellio

    The car driver could be asking himself “How come the dumb truck driver backed into me? Didn’t he see I was back here?” Some of those backup beepers aren’t very loud. A truck horn is. Without using the horn, you don’t know if the guy was an idiot or just had a blind spot. Cars have them, too, but they’re smaller. Without using the horn, you don’t know. That’s what makes it
    preventable. Non CDL drivers don’t understand preventability, that’s why they get pissed when their insurance rates go up for an accident that wasn’t their ‘fault.’ That’s likely what will happen to the car driver. If he had used his horn and the car still backed into him,
    the NSCARC might well have ruled in his favor.

  • Craig Vecellio

    Yep, it was preventable from both sides; neither used a horn. The trucker gets a mark on his record, and the car driver gets his insurance rates hiked up because the truck was already in the lane of travel before the car backed out. Non CDL drivers don’t understand anything beyond ‘fault’ so they get bent out of shape when their insurance rates go up for an accident that a trucker would recognize as ‘preventable.’

  • Mr.Albert

    I always use my horn . however what if the car still moves after I m in backing motion. I ve looked and at the time there is no movement but me.The car proceeds to back out now.

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