Road Safety Articles

Preventability of Vehicle Accidents

These guides cannot possibly cover every accident, which may occur. These are intended only to provide guidance in determining whether the driver’s judgments or actions contributed to the accident. These guidelines are consistent with National safety Council (NSC) and American Trucking Association (ATA rulings) on preventability.

Struck in Rear by Other Vehicle

Non-Preventable if:

  1. Driver’s vehicle was legally and properly parked: unless there were extenuating circumstances recognizable to the alert driver whose judgment should suggest  “to park elsewhere”.
  2. Driver was proceeding in his own lane of traffic at a safe and lawful speed.
  3. Driver was stopped in traffic due to existing conditions or was stopped in compliance with traffic sign or signal, or by the direction of a police officer or other persons legitimately controlling traffic.
  4. Driver was in proper lane, waiting to make turn, and was flashing a signal indicating his intension to turn.
  5. Driver’s vehicle was disabled and was protected by emergency warning devices as required by DOT and other state regulations, or if driver was in the process of setting out or retrieving signals. Except, if opportunity was available to driver to remove vehicle off road.

Preventable if:

  1. Driver was passing slower traffic near an intersection and had to make a sudden stop.
  2. Driver made a sudden stop to park, load or unload.
  3. Driver made a sudden stop at railroad crossing, to ask directions, or because he would otherwise pass his destination.
  4. Driver made any other type of unnecessary sudden stop.
  5. Driver’s vehicle was improperly parked.
  6. Driver’s vehicle rolled back into vehicle behind him while starting on a grade.

Struck While Parked

Non-preventable if:

  1. Driver was properly parked in an area where permitted. 
    • Unless there was extenuating circumstances recognizable to the alert driver, whose judgment should suggest “to park elsewhere”.
    • Unless there was off-the-road parking available.
  2. Vehicle was protected by emergency warning devices as required by DOT and state regulations, or if driver was in the process of setting or retrieving signals. The use of 4-way flashers as emergency warning lights under DOT regulations meets this provision for only the first ten minutes.

Side-Swipe or Head-On Collisions

Preventable if:

  1. Driver was not entirely in his proper lane of travel.
  2. Driver did not pull to his right or left and slowed down and/or stop for vehicle encroaching on his lane of travel when such action could have been taken without additional danger.
  3. Driver changed lanes without ascertaining that sufficient space was available or failed to signal his intent to change lane.
  4. Driver was weaving to the right or left, thus crowding the passing vehicle.

Striking Other Vehicle in Rear 

Non-preventable if:

  1. Other vehicle rolled backward while starting on grade.
  2. Driver’s vehicle was stopped but was hit from behind and pushed into another vehicle.

Preventable if:

  1. Driver failed to maintain safe following distance and have his vehicle under control.
  2. Driver failed to stay alert and ascertain that traffic was slowing down or that the vehicle ahead was moving slowly, stopped, or slowing down.
  3. Driver misjudged rate of overtaking.
  4. Driver came too close before pulling out to pass.
  5. Driver started up too soon or too fast for vehicle ahead.
  6. Driver failed to leave sufficient room for passing vehicle to get safely back in line.
  7. Driver was passing and misjudged approaching traffic, and returned to right lane too fast.

Backing Accidents

Preventable if:

  1. Driver backed up when backing could have been avoided by better planning of his route.
  2. Driver backed up into traffic stream when such backing could have been avoided.
  3. Driver failed to get out of cab and checked proposed path of backward travel.
  4. Driver depended solely on mirrors when it was practicable to look back.
  5. Driver failed to get out of cab periodically and rechecked conditions when backing a long distance.
  6. Driver failed to sound horn while backing.
  7. Driver failed to check behind vehicle parked at curb before attempting to leave parking space.
  8. Driver backed from blind side when he could have made a slight-slide approach.
  9. Driver failed to use a guide to help him back, or depended solely on a guide. Relinquished responsibility to guide.

Miscellaneous Accident Types

Preventable if:

  1. Driver was making a “U” turn.
  2. Driver was pulling away from the curb or other parking space.
  3. Driver was entering traffic from a driveway or private alley.
  4. Driver was giving a push or was being pushed.
  5. Vehicle moved due to faulty brakes.
  6. Driver left vehicle unattended (with or without motor running) and failed to set parking brake and wheel chocks.
  7. Collision with fixed objects – poles gates, light stanchions, etc.
  8. Non-collision accidents, such as an overturn, or running off road.
  9. Skidding accidents in which our vehicle is damaged because it jackknifes.
  10. Vehicle was moved while connected to stationery equipment.

The following is applicable to all accidents.

Preventable if:

  1. Driver was not operating at a speed consistent with the existing conditions of road, weather, and traffic.
  2. Driver failed to control speed so that he could stop within assured clear distance.
  3. Driver misjudged available clearance.
  4. Driver failed to yield right-of-way to avoid accident.
  5. Driver failed to accurately observe existing conditions.
  6. Driver was in violation of company operating rules or special instructions, the regulations of any federal of state regularly agency, or any applicable traffic law or ordinances. These rules apply regardless of whether they occurred on or off the public highways.