Trucker's snowy slide into a lane divider 'reconfigured' his fender: Preventable?


In the latest video in Overdrive sister publication CCJ's crash-scenario series, "Preventable or Not?", trucker John Doe loses traction on the highway in snow and slides into a steel lane divider. For this big-time reconfiguration, as it were, of Doe's truck's driver-side front fender, he was awarded with a preventable-accident warning letter from his company's safety director. 

Given the wintry road conditions, though, Doe wasn't convinced his run-in with the lane divider was in fact preventable. The National Safety Council (NSC) and its Accident Review Committee were asked to provide third-party judgment, considering Doe's reported speed at the time of the slide (45 mph) and the affect that could have had on the outcome. 

Nonpreventable judgments can hold particular import for crash records kept by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and can be obtained for a big list of specific crash types via FMCSA's DataQs system.

In Doe's case, though, that route toward having the crash excluded from federal safety scoring could well be a dead end. Watch the video above, or access the transcript below, to find out how the NSC came down on his Preventable or Not case. 

[Related: Infrastructure failure or 'reckless driver': Shoulder rollover 'preventable'?


Alas, it was painfully evident that winter had arrived as John Doe’s tractor-trailer prepared to crest a hill at 45 mph on a desolate, pitch-black stretch of divided highway.

Suddenly, Doe’s steer tires lost traction, causing his rig to slide laterally across the road surface and into the steel lane divider, reconfiguring his left-front fender big time.

Since he contested the preventable-accident warning letter from his safety director, the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee was asked to pass final judgment.

To Doe’s dismay, NSC ruled against him, noting that 45 mph was too fast for the blizzard-like conditions at night, especially considering he had been on the verge of a blindly cresting and steep hill.