Trucker's trailer picks up an oak branch as decoration. Was the crash preventable?

Updated Nov 29, 2023

The video above is another in Overdrive sister publication CCJ's reboot of its long-running "Preventable or Not?" series, examining crashes often contested by truck operators after being deemed preventable by carrier personnel.

As noted when Overdrive covered the initial video in the rebooted series last month, preventability determinations, while not the same as a finding of fault in a court of law, now have the potential to follow carriers large and small (and drivers) around via their records in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's CSA Safety Measurement System.

It's possible to have some crashes formally examined, as the National Safety Council has done for decades, and excluded from the record if deemed nonpreventable upon federal review. 

In this case, a trucker running a rural, tree-lined road takes a massive branch with him after clipping it with his trailer. He contests the carrier's preventable determination and, well, watch the video for the result. What do you think?

Find all the Preventable or Not videos from CCJ via this link.  

[Related: Pickup truck cuts off tractor-trailer: Could the accident be anything other than 'nonpreventable'?]


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.