Wide left gone wrong — truck driver’s fault or not?

| July 12, 2013

John Doe attempted to execute a wide left but still was struck by a bus whose driver didn’t turn sharply enough. Was this a preventable accident?

Truck driver John Doe was ready at dawn with a jug of hot coffee and was pulling his rig out of the terminal yard heading east on a four-lane road. He was pulling a 48-foot flatbed loaded with a steel coil, and traffic was light.

The road he was on dead-ended into Route 7, where he would be turning left. To make sure he had enough room for the turn, he got into the right-hand lane (which allowed left turns), and when the light turned green, he checked for oncoming traffic and then carefully began his turn.

In the left-hand lane next to him, a bus also began to turn left, but he didn’t make the turn sharp enough and moved into the lane Doe was in. Doe got on the brakes and stopped dead, then sounded his horn.

The bus driver failed to react, however, and took a swipe out of Doe’s tractor.

Later Doe received a warning letter from his carrier for a preventable accident, saying he should have hung back and anticipate that the large bus would have gotten in his lane.

He disputed, and the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee intervened, ruling in John Doe’s favor. NSC said he reacted properly, that the bus had plenty of room to maneuver and that the bus initially did not appear to pose a threat.

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

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