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Truck Accident in Cali

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Lionheart13's Comment
member avatar

Hello fellow truckers. I am a novice driver working for Stevens Transport at the moment. Since I am a rookie driver, I was wondering if one of you seasoned road warriors can enlighten me and maybe point me in the right direction. This past November I got into a minor accident out in Cajon Pass in California. I was heading south on I-15 a couple of miles to go for the summit. I was in the right lane (I believe there were three lanes) and had just down-shifted to 7th to start the climb. I noticed that a trucker lane was coming up on the right, so I signaled, checked all the mirrors, and moved over since no one was behind me on my right. How could there be, the lane had just opened up!?

I was almost completely in the lane when I heard a faint "screech" and a "crunch". My left hand flew off the wheel, but other than that, the tractor didn't budge. I was like, "What the HELL was that?" Then I noticed a white A4 limping off to the side. Apparently, I had squished him against the Jersey wall on the right. Very minor damage. The 20-something year old kid gets out, along with his girlfriend. Both were viisibly shaken.

The guy says to me, "I thought we were gonna die."

The girl says, "How can you just slam us into the wall like that? What kind of person are you?"

I replied, "Where did you two come from? You weren't there when I made my move."

The guy admitted that he was going 70+ mph (I was doing 45 tops). He admitted to me (and to the CHP), "I had a choice whether to speed up or slow down; I chose to speed up." They made me out to be the bad guy however, due to the impact point being so far up the rig, all the way to the tractor. Luckily, for whatever reason, I DIDN'T GET THE TICKET.

There was another trucker following behind who witnessed everything. He pulled over and gave me his number. When I called him, he told me that the Audi was actually behind me in the LEFT lane, moving "in a hurry". He was blocked so he actually swung around my ass two lanes to try to pass me on my right, as I was moving to the right. When the other trucker saw that, he knew he wasn't going to make it.

So now the problem: although I didn't get the ticket and the accident was obviously not my fault, Stevens is deducting $50 from my settlements until they get $2000 from me. The in-house insurance guy gave me no due process, no notice, no nothing. When I talked to him immediately after the incident, he claimed that the impact point was not favorable for me. By the way, the damage to my truck was less than $500. The major thing was the passenger door step rail ($189) at Rock Auto. The work was done in the yard.

What can I do about this? I am about to take off the gloves but a little guidance would help. Either way, I have decided to dump this buffoon of a company. I can tell you folks MANY things about them but I realize that this site doesn't condone that talk. Looking forward to some feedback.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Lionheart13, I'm glad you didn't get a ticket, but this is considered a preventable accident. It doesn't matter what another trucker says or thinks. It doesn't matter that the young kid was driving irresponsibly. I had an almost identical situation yesterday, and fortunately the young idiots in the BMW didn't get squashed into the next world. They didn't even get touched, but only because I kept looking in my mirrors as I changed lanes, and was able to avoid hitting them.

I read a statistic the other day that said 70% of big rig accidents are lane changes. Forget about "taking off the gloves" and learn from this. You thought Stevens was a

buffoon of a company

It turns out you were the buffoon in this scenario. Take a chill and be glad you're still employed. If you take those gloves off, as you said, you may discover your DAC will keep you from ever working again. It's time to man up and own your mistake.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Lionheart wrote:

What can I do about this? I am about to take off the gloves but a little guidance would help. Either way, I have decided to dump this buffoon of a company. I can tell you folks MANY things about them but I realize that this site doesn't condone that talk. Looking forward to some feedback.

Take the gloves off and do what? Why would you dump them,...they haven't "dumped" you?

I am sure you could tell us many things about Steven's that none of us care to hear. However the fact they didn't fire you as a result of this speaks volumes about them as a company.

What can you do about this?

- Stop running your mouth about the buffoonery of Stevens.

- Check your ego and adjust your attitude.

- Count your blessings that you didn't kill anyone. Had the 4-wheeler travelled under your trailer, this would be an entirely different discussion.

- Try your best to learn from it and proactively discuss your newly found wisdom with your safety director. Let Stevens know you are taking full responsibility for the accident and will strive to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. Thank them for giving you another chance.

- Last,...in the future; continue checking your mirrors as you are moving over during any lane change. Never assume. Once and done is not enough...could have finished you. To complete a full lane change requires roughly 3 seconds. A whole lot can happen during that time.

Be safe !

Mr M's Comment
member avatar

You may want to make sure someone will hire you. And you should have saw that car regardless is they made a quick move around you you shouldn't have only looked once and done.

Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar

You are probably paying for the car too even though you did not get a ticket. What happened was that you quit checking your mirror after you started your move. Even though he made a boneheaded move, you are still at fault because he was in the lane ahead of you.

Take it as a lesson learned and move on. $50 is a cheap lesson. Be thankful you are still working.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Lionheart13, I'm glad you didn't get a ticket, but this is considered a preventable accident. It doesn't matter what another trucker says or thinks. It doesn't matter that the young kid was driving irresponsibly. I had an almost identical situation yesterday, and fortunately the young idiots in the BMW didn't get squashed into the next world. They didn't even get touched, but only because I kept looking in my mirrors as I changed lanes, and was able to avoid hitting them.

I read a statistic the other day that said 70% of big rig accidents are lane changes. Forget about "taking off the gloves" and learn from this. You thought Stevens was a

buffoon of a company

It turns out you were the buffoon in this scenario. Take a chill and be glad you're still employed. If you take those gloves off, as you said, you may discover your DAC will keep you from ever working again. It's time to man up and own your mistake.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

I'm getting on the road, but I just wanted to add something to this discussion before I start rolling. One of the hallmarks I've noticed in successful truck drivers is their willingness to accept responsibility for their mistakes. It's sometimes both humbling and painful to admit when we are wrong, but recognizing our own shortcomings is the path to overcoming them.

A hallmark of the never satisfied "job hopping" truck drivers is that no matter what has gone wrong in their careers it always seems to be someone else's fault. They always have a plausible (to them) explanation, and will therefore detrimentally defend themselves to the bitter end.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
What can I do about this?

Well it depends what you mean by "this". Do you mean you'd like to fix:

  • Your sloppy driving?
  • Your crappy attitude?
  • The fact you're driving an 80,000 pound building on wheels and almost killed two people but don't even realize you should have prevented the whole thing?
  • The fact that your company is giving you an opportunity to fix your screw up but you're such a bonehead that you're here insulting them as if they're the idiots that almost killed someone and you're the one in a position to do something about it?

Folks, when you're trying to evaluate this industry and decide which company to work for you're going to find a lot of guys like this around the Web. They always have their "poor me" stories. The way they tell it they're always the victim of circumstances and they're always being mistreated by their "bad company", or in this case their "buffoon of a company".

But when you take a closer look at the full story you normally find that the one pointing fingers at everyone else is usually the one to blame. This is the type of person (and therefore the type of driver) that runs around bashing companies and criticizing their instructors and constantly pointing the finger at everyone but themselves. According to their side of the story it's always as if they're the only competent one and everyone around them is idiots.

Did the driver of the car make an aggressive move? Sounds like it. Is this something a professional driver sees 1,000 times a day and should be well prepared for? Absolutely it is. If you ask any top tier driver or any safety manager they'll tell you in this case the blame falls squarely on the truck driver. It makes no difference if the car made an aggressive move or not. It makes no difference who was given a ticket at the scene. You must know where all of the vehicles are around you at all times and you must know what they are doing at all times. You never make a move without knowing that the space you're moving into is clear.

This exact same scenario and many others like it literally happen every single day out there. No one drives a big rig 500+ miles in a day without having a number of people aggressively take space around them. They'll cut into the lane as you're changing lanes so they don't have to be behind you. They'll pull out in front of you from a stop so they don't have to be behind you. They'll pass you and then jump in front of you and hit the brakes to take the next exit because they didn't want to be behind you for another ten seconds. See a pattern here? Four wheelers will risk their lives on a regular basis just so they don't have to be behind a truck. This kind of stuff happens all day long out there. It's routine stuff that should be easily handled.

Unfortunately in this case Lionheart assumed he could move over into the newly formed lane without watching his mirrors because:

no one was behind me on my right. How could there be, the lane had just opened up!?

So you see? No one could possibly be there so no sense in looking, right? Geez.....you simply can't make assumptions when you're the captain of an 80,000 pound machine.

Either way, I have decided to dump this buffoon of a company. I can tell you folks MANY things about them but I realize that this site doesn't condone that talk.

....says the guy who just wrecked someone and doesn't even realize it's his own fault.

Ya know, it was bad enough that you came here as a professional driver to bash the driver of the other vehicle, not even realizing you should have prevented the entire thing in the first place. But then you had to take it up a notch and squash your own company against the barrier, too? Why would you do that??? They're letting you keep your job! They're allowing you to make amends for your mistake! You almost killed someone and you're going to come here bashing the company that not only invested the money and equipment and trainers up front to put you behind the wheel of a big rig in the first place, but then they stuck by you even after you screwed up in a big way?

booooooooo!

You made a huge mistake but this time luck was on your side. No one was injured, no one was killed, and you didn't even lose your job over it. You should thank Stevens profusely for allowing you to keep your job and immediately set out with the intent to make it up to them. They invested in you when you didn't know the first thing about trucking. They stuck by you when you screwed up. Heck, they'd probably even forgive you for coming here and bashing them publicly for no reason. Instead of causing even more damage by quitting your job you should wake up and realize you're lucky to have a job with a company like that.

Folks, I can tell you for a fact that Stevens is a very, very forgiving company. This is far from the first incident we've learned of from drivers at Stevens and each time Stevens has stuck by their drivers. That means a lot in this industry because as you can see by Lionheart's willingness to criticize his company and quit them altogether, loyalty is not something you find very often in this business.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Isaac H.'s Comment
member avatar

If almost killing 2 people by squashing their car between a wall and your tractor trailer is a minor accident. ..what is a major one? Dude, you almost killed someone.

Pete B.'s Comment
member avatar

There is no end to the lessons and learning available on this forum; you guys are awesome! Thank you Mr. M, Pat, Old School, Brett, and Isaac.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Lionheart wrote:

What can I do about this? I am about to take off the gloves but a little guidance would help. Either way, I have decided to dump this buffoon of a company. I can tell you folks MANY things about them but I realize that this site doesn't condone that talk. Looking forward to some feedback.

Take the gloves off and do what? Why would you dump them,...they haven't "dumped" you?

I am sure you could tell us many things about Steven's that none of us care to hear. However the fact they didn't fire you as a result of this speaks volumes about them as a company.

What can you do about this?

- Stop running your mouth about the buffoonery of Stevens.

- Check your ego and adjust your attitude.

- Count your blessings that you didn't kill anyone. Had the 4-wheeler travelled under your trailer, this would be an entirely different discussion.

- Try your best to learn from it and proactively discuss your newly found wisdom with your safety director. Let Stevens know you are taking full responsibility for the accident and will strive to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. Thank them for giving you another chance.

- Last,...in the future; continue checking your mirrors as you are moving over during any lane change. Never assume. Once and done is not enough...could have finished you. To complete a full lane change requires roughly 3 seconds. A whole lot can happen during that time.

Be safe !

Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar

What Brett said. If I added anymore of my thoughts on this post, I may get banned from ever posting here again.

confused.gifwtf-2.gif

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