Truck Versus Car Incident - Who Was Wrong, & Could It Have Been Avoided?

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Errol V.'s Comment
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You don't need to count white lines here. Just watch the car as truck in front. The interval between the blue truck and the first car never changes, so their store stayed constant. It's easy to see the stupidtrucker sped up simply to keep the VW from moving in front of him.

This is exactly the situation that Scott Barker, Kahuna of Safety for Swift, talked about in this week's video message.

1. This attitude is why lawyers put up those "Big Truck Crash" billboards.

2. Let the 4-wheeler be the jerk, and the Peterbilt guy can be the professional driver he should be.

3. If I were the judge on this case, judgement against the 18-wheeler jocky. Sentence will be 1 school year driving a school van filled with unruly high school students.


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Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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One argument I haven't seen made yet is the fact that nobody has brought up the responsibility of a driver in making a pass. The driver of the vw never left enough room for the pass to begin with. There's no question the driver of the truck is a ****** but when performing a pass of another vehicle, the driver of the passing vehicle is responsible for performing it safely and leaving reasonable space between vehicles as they pass. The driver in the vw would never have done that, even if the truck had not tried to close the gap.

Bud A.'s Comment
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OK, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the VW caused this accident. The truck is in the hammer lane passing another truck. One four-wheeler cuts in front of him, then the VW tries to cut in front of him instead of slowing down and waiting.

The truck was following too close (partly because other drivers cut in front of him), and should have backed off a bit. I think he saw the VW since he started moving right, and he may have sped up. But still, the VW should not have tried to cut him off to make that pass.

Do I think the truck driver will lose this if it goes to court? Probably. But the VW doesn't have the right to change lanes that close to the front of the truck.

In that sitatuion, I would have slowed down to avoid the collision, but I'm not certain he could have slowed down enough to avoid the VW since they turned into him. And that's the key to me: the VW turned into him when they didn't have to.


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Bud A.'s Comment
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Looking at it again, it reminds me a little of the video of the lady that ran into guyjax that's on here somewhere.

It also reminds me of a truck crash case I worked on when I was a litigation paralegal many years ago (before dashcams). Long story short, the lawyer I worked for made the case go away for the truck driver when he got the driver of the vehicle that cut off a truck to admit in court that he was just off the bumper of the truck when he moved into its path.

While we're the professionals and are held to a higher standard, that doesn't give the drivers of cars the right to change lanes and run into us. I'd say in a comparative negligence state, the VW has about 95% of the liability in this case.


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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.
Bill F.'s Comment
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As close as I can figure without special software this is the frame just prior to them touching. Flatbed is being overtaken very quickly and VW has to either hit the brakes hard or move left. I don't think the driver can see the VW at this point, but how can the VW not see the driver? Driver has moved left to avoid a collision (as required by law). VW never made any move to avoid a collision, and instigated the whole proceedings. Who do you believe must yield right of way at this point? Put aside all the "professional driver should have" for a moment and look at it from a who has to yield right of way perspective.

Errol, I would prefer the death penalty rather than your #3.


Bud A.'s Comment
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One more thing I thought of. Is there any state where it's legal to pass on the right? Or to change lanes with that little room?

Now I'm at 100% liability for the VW driver. Consider:

1. The truck driver did consider following distance, which is why he's in the left lane to pass the flatbed. The following distance to the car in front of him was caused by that driver illegally passing him on the right.

2. Assuming he's on a hands-free device, it is not illegal to talk on the phone while driving. I don't see any evidence that he was distracted or that it caused the collision.

3. He tried to avoid the collision. The VW did not. If he had slammed on his brakes, for all we know, a car following closely might have rear-ended him, or he could have rolled his truck. (Rolling trucks are the No. 1 cause of truck driver fatalities.)

So, the VW driver gets a ticket for illegally passing on the right and making an unsafe lane change, and pays for the damage to the poor guy's truck. And if the VW driver punches the truck driver, they get a punch back and an assault charge, assuming the truck driver remembers to stand in the field of view of the dash cam and lets the VW driver swing first.


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Bill F.'s Comment
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Got the clip below from Texas statutes. VW driver completely at fault due to unsafe passing. Driver performed no unsafe actions that actively caused this and actually moved over to try and avoid the VW. Remember passing means leaving room to complete your pass. I agree with most statements that driver could have possibly avoided this by backing off earlier, and probably wishes he had, but he did not violate right of way laws. The argument that he sped up to close the gap may have bearing as well. If he did, it was not by much.

Sec. 545.057. PASSING TO THE RIGHT. (a) An operator may pass to the right of another vehicle only if conditions permit safely passing to the right and:

Rick S.'s Comment
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Mark time with the white lines in the center of the lanes, and try to decide if the driver sped up or not. I don't think so. He just wasn't going to have his toes stepped on by another 4 wheeler that day. Also, what is the legal safe following distance?

This is the thing I was trying to bring out here (for the most part - aside from seeing what actual drivers thought about this scenario).

As CMV drivers, we're going to get our toes stepped on 100's of times a day. Are we in THAT MUCH OF A RUSH, or that tired of getting our "toes stepped on" - that we are going to risk a serious crash?

Wouldn't the PROFESSIONAL THING TO DO - be to just lift off the fuel and let the VW in?

They were both at fault. And both made BONEHEADED MOVES.

One of the most IMPORTANT ASPECTS here - at least to your company's safety department - was the accident PREVENTABLE?

150% YES.

1 - After the first car passed - the driver failed to re-establish the following gap. 2 - He then accelerated to close the gap EVEN FURTHER, to prevent the VW from getting in front of him. 3 - It's not like the VW "swooped in" and cut into the lane - it was in front of him in the right lane, signalled, and started moving into the lane. 4 - At the point the VW realized the truck wasn't going to let him in, they should have backed off.

Remember - as a licensed CDL driver - if there's ANY BLAME on our part - WE are going to be painted as the VILLAINS.

It is typically not illegal to pass on the right on a multi-lane highway (interstate) in many states. The VW, aside from trying to do battle with 80,000 lbs of tractor - didn't "really" do anything wrong - until he realized there wasn't enough room to safely make the lane change. This was exacerbated by the truck following to closely, then accelerating to close the gap.



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G-Town's Comment
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Hey Rick, really good discussion.

My thoughts are totally aligned with you and Errol.

Rick suggests:

Wouldn't the PROFESSIONAL THING TO DO - be to just lift off the fuel and let the VW in?

He** yes. No question about it.

Sam the Wrestler's Comment
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Main fault that I can see of the pro driver is he has a load to deliver at a certain time. That's his job. He just put that in jeopardy by not easing off the gas. Now his company may have to find another driver in the area to try to do a relay, or call the customer to explain that it wont be there on time. Customers care not who was legally in the right. They want there product. We are professionals. Our job is to make the delivery in a timely manner. Does it suck being cut off constantly in heavy traffic, yes. Just flip them off (joking) and ease back, and deliver what's in your box. If not, the customer will find someone else and the driver will be sitting at the truck stop wondering why he has no loads.

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