Broadway Express Responds With More Information About The Moving Disaster

The moving company responsible for the moving disaster that we mentioned the other day has written in to share some information about the way insurance works in the event of such a catastrophe.

Broadway Express says:

We have been in constant contact with the customer since the accident. Credit cards are charged for these self moves on the day of loading. Standing procedure in the transportation industry is a load must be paid for before a claim can be filed. The customer called as asked immediately after the accident if we would refund the load charges, and we said we couldn’t, but the insurance was contacted and an adjuster was sent out promptly. The salvageable items were loaded on another one of our trucks in the area and is being transported to the customer’s destination.

The standard claim form sent to the customer states .60 cents/lb. This is not the case with a catastrophe. This customer will probably receive full value from the insurance company. An adjuster is also meeting the truck in California to re-evaluate the goods.

They also let us know that the driver is very experienced and has been with the company for 14 years but is from Illinois and was unfamiliar with the Boston area and made a tragic mistake while trying to merge into traffic. Let’s send everyone involved our best wishes.

(Photo: k a t m )
PREVIOUSLY: What Do You Do When Your Moving Company Destroys Everything You Own?

Comments

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  1. Wormfather says:

    Wow, ok, I’m sasiated. As long as the OP receives at least 80% of the original value, I’d be happy.

    “…This is not the case with a catastrophe. This customer will probably receive full value from the insurance company…”

    Just to let you know, the commenters here are going to hold you to that. Dont end up in the WCIA compitition next year.

  2. TheShepherd says:

    The tragic mistake was not trying to merge into traffic. Also, while being from Boston and not Illinois would’ve been helpful, its entirely irrelevant as there are numerous signs posted around all entrance ramps to Storrow Dr that among others say “CARS ONLY”, “NO COMMERCIAL VEHICLES”, and the sign graphic with a truck silhouette underneath a red circle with a line through it.

    It seems to me that the mistake was in ignoring posted road signs, not where the driver was from.

  3. TheShepherd says:

    Additionally, it seems to me that no matter where a driver is from, the company/dispatch should’ve provided him with

    1. a route plan
    2. alternate routes
    3. notes about driving in Boston.

    It seems to me that 1 and 2 would be standard practice for any move, regardless of the location.

  4. sp00nix says:

    There used to be a train tresel down the street from my old apartment, right next to it was an industrial complex. It was almost a weekly ordeal to see a truck snugly settled under the bridge. The township installed plenty of height warning signs and even bumpers to keep the trucks form causing to much damage.

  5. chrispiss says:

    Is there any kind of research into these stories before they get posted? Just curious.

  6. NightSteel says:

    @chrispiss: Define ‘these stories’. Most stories are posted to Consumerist at least partly because someone with a grievance of some sort can’t get satisfactory information (and sometimes any information at all) out of the company that they are aggrieved towards. The point of Consumerist is to shame these companies into finally providing the service they should have in the first place. ‘Research’ is generally not conducive to this goal.

  7. Unless you’ve ever driven one of these trucks, I wouldn’t be judging the operator of this vehicle…

  8. friendlynerd says:

    @twophrasebark:
    Really? Can the people who drive them not read signs that say things like “no trucks” or “low bridge?”

  9. Banned in DC says:

    @twophrasebark: Yeah, here’s the sign he passed getting on the road. Pretty clear, I think: [tinyurl.com]

  10. choinski says:

    “…This is not the case with a catastrophe. This customer will probably receive full value from the insurance company…”

    Who’s insurance company? I hope not the Customer’s

  11. solipsistnation says:

    Boston is so forgiving to drivers unfamiliar with the city…

  12. jonnyobrien says:

    It’s not limited to out of town drivers. The Boston Fire Department got a brand new ladder truck and promptly drove it under that bridge shearing off the bucket opening the cab like a can of sardines and decelerating from sixty to zero in 5 feet. The excuse? The new truck was lower than the previous truck and they thought it would fit.

  13. revmatty says:

    @TheShepherd: I’ve driven in Boston. Number three might be appropriate regardless of where they’re actually driving.

    I will note that just driving a different truck than the one you’re used to can cause this kind of catastrophe. When by brother used to do lights for rock shows he was driving from one venue to another and swung by the house to pick up a few things, as he often did while passing through town. Except this was a bigger concert and thus a bigger truck. Tore the roof off it while parking out front due to a huge tree branch.

  14. hypoxia says:

    The movers are STILL going to charge for this? Oh, get real. They are actually going to charge the customer for the experience of ruining their possessions. Jeezus. What shitty customer service.

  15. consumersaur says:

    @chrispiss: Yes.

  16. jelleric says:

    I have a friend of a friend who rented a moving truck in Boston, and came very close to hitting a bridge on Storrow Drive just like this guy. Luckily she realized it before it happened. She pulled over and called the police. The police accompanied her as she backed the truck up all the way to the last exit she passed, after giving her a citation for a few hundred dollars. Disaster averted.

  17. kretara says:

    As someone who lived in Boston for 9 years, I can tell you that
    1) Storrow Drive is just insane, especially when you have so many drivers actively trying to kill you and themselves with their very aggressive driving. Took me a while to adjust, but once I bought a old, big body Audi I was playing bumper cars with the best of them.

    2) There might be signs, but anyone familiar with the Boston area knows to take any sign with a grain of salt.

    3) driving in a new city (esp. one with the unordered cow paths that Boston calls streets and the aggressive drivers) can be very disorienting. Boston is one of the worst I have ever had the misfortune of driving in (second only to pre-Katrina New Orleans — potholes that could have swallowed my CRX, plus signage so ambiguous as to be laughable)

    4) When I first moved to Boston, I relied on maps to get around. During my first 6 months there, I found 27 serious errors in the maps I was using (misnamed streets, incorrect one-ways, intersecting streets where no streets really intersected…the list goes on and on).

    But yeah, plan this type of drive before just jumping into the cab of your truck.

  18. JN33 says:

    I hope you don’t drive in Houston sometime and actually obey the street signs as they are posted. The highways are always being moved, overpasses being torn down and detoured, even for natives it is confusing. The highway department can only tell you to check their website for current information on road status. So, driver beware. You are obligated to observe the signs (as per state law) but don’t trust them any further than you can throw them. I imagine the same goes for other cities.

  19. Juggernaut says:

    Albert DeSalvo never had a problem getting around…

  20. flairness says:

    Actually, I’m satisfied with that response, so long as it’s genuine. Being someone who moves around a lot, I know that signs and rules of the road can get confusing. And although you try your best, you miss one every now and then. When I first moved to DC from Kansas City, I turned right on red once (because you can anywhere in KC…yet very few places in DC). It was an innocent mistake. This guy entering the wrong highway/road/whatever may be as much of an innocent mistake. Unfortunately, it cost a lot more than my mistake. But the point is, it’s still a mistake. They’re owning up to it, there’s a plan of action, they’ve responded to the customer, they’re following rules, they even took the time to respond here.

    Like I said. I’m satisfied, so long as it’s genuine and truthful.

  21. jgodsey says:

    There is no merge there, he simply didn’t check his route before he went gallivanting down Storrow drive.

  22. About to send this into the editors, but all us Bostonians are familiar with this high-larious sign on Storrow Drive: [www.flickr.com]

  23. Hey, whys is everyone being so harsh on the moving company and the driver? Look what happened to their truck! It’s gonna cost hundreds of dollars to fix that.

  24. @friendlynerd: My last neighborhood had “no trucks” signs all over it. Because they didn’t want us to have through commercial traffic, not because the roads couldn’t handle it or because we had any bridges. Moving and delivery trucks came all the time.

  25. Amelia Subverxin says:

    “They also let us know that the driver is very experienced and has been with the company for 14 years but is from Illinois…”

    Where, incidentally, they’ve had a whole scandal with commercial driver’s license given in exchange for bribes.

  26. jzief128 says:

    @twophrasebark:

    I have driven these types of trucks, and I am always aware of my surroundings. I worked for a moving company and being aware of everything around you is the first thing they teach you. I have driven a 13’6″ clearance truck from VA to NY to IL in various types of moving situations, and it is usually very hard to accidently go under a too-low bridge. The signs are usually numerous, with the height in bold print and flashing lights.

    Hitting a bridge is a rookie mistake, not one that a 14 year veteran should ever make

  27. amyschiff says:

    @twophrasebark: I worked at a TV station driving a live truck for the local newscasts. Because there is a giant mast stowed on top, we had a SIGN inside the vehicle saying how tall it was, and therefore what clearance you’d need. So unless driving that truck renders you unable to read signs, I’d say it isn’t an excuse.

  28. @flairness: Amen. People aren’t perfect.

  29. Orv says:

    @Viva La Volvo: There’s a pedestrian bridge near where I work with a big yellow sign declaring its unusually low clearance. The sign is pretty beat up because trucks keep hitting it. Truckers apparently ignore signs just as often as normal drivers.

    @Eyebrows McGee: Yeah, “no trucks” and “no commercial vehicles” signs often exempt moving trucks, so I can see how a moving truck driver might be used to ignoring them. Ignoring a clearance sign is kinda dumb, though.

  30. bostonguy says:

    I’ve lost track of the beginning of this story, but did the truck driver say exactly how he got onto Storrow? I was looking at Google Streetview, and you CAN get onto Storrow from Pinckney Street and not see a height warning sign until you get to the bridge…

  31. TheShepherd says:

    @twophrasebark: and if I have?

    every single entrance onto storrow has signage similar to the photo posted by Ted’s Famous Kitchen

  32. Stormslanding says:

    It sounds like the company was in contact with the customer from the beginning. If thats so what is the original point of the post other then to point at the driver and mock his driving?

    I was under the impression that this forum was for customers that could not resolve problems, not petty finger pointing.

  33. Hanke says:

    @jyindc: If that’s the sign he passed, it would have smacked right into his truck.

    In brooklyn, the el runs down New Utrecht Ave. A number of places, the stations are slung lower than the actual clearance, and there are brigh red beams, painted ‘SACRIFICIAL BEAM’ in the hops of avaiding such a disaster.

    Oh, Don’t call it a tagedy unless someone died.

  34. @kretara: I lived and drove in Boston for 15 years, and am not buying any of this.

    1.) I’m happy to hear that you bought a bigger car instead of just learning how to drive safely.
    2.) No matter where you are, you should not be taking signs that say “CARS ONLY. NO TRUCKS” with a “grain of salt”.
    3.) It’s sort of part of the job description for a professional truck driver (especially one of 14 years) to “drive in a new city” frequently and to quickly and adequately overcome this disorientation.
    4.) I’m thinking that a moving company can be expected to have current and accurate maps and route plans, if not GPS.

    During my time in Boston, you could always count on a few of these accidents on Storrow and Memorial Drive two times each year: when the students arrived in August, and then they moved out in June. While I can give a little slack to young kids navigating an unfamiliar city with a vehicle they aren’t used to driving, I would argue that this exact scenario demands a higher level of attention in order to be safe, both to yourself and to the other drivers on the road.

    The folks who are defending this driver, or others like him, are simply providing explanations, not excuses, for this poor judgment.

  35. TheShepherd says:

    @bostonguy:ok, you may have found the one place that doesn’t, but if iirc, going inbound from pinckney, he should’ve been ok

  36. @amyschiff: Flairness speaks wise.

    What else can you say to other posters except… you’ve never made a big mistake?

    So, since yes you have, and just about every adult has been in a major auto accident as well, is like the feeding frenzy for people who want someone to take out their frustrations on?

  37. psychos says:

    I’m sorry, but being unfamiliar with the Boston area is not an excuse for getting a truck wedged on Storrow Drive. Boston is indeed a difficulty city to drive in, with twisty roads, confusing signage, construction, Boston drivers, and other obstacles. I live here, and I drive into the city as little as I can due to the above, opting to take the T. However, Storrow Drive is NOT an example of aforementioned confusing signage. There are plenty of easily visible signs barring trucks from this road and warning of low clearances.

    I’m familiar with the area where the truck was decapitated, and it’s pretty damn well marked. Here’s the onramp the driver would have had to take to get onto Storrow coming from Mt. Vernon St. The huge “CARS ONLY” sign is a bit faded in that picture, but I happened to drive past that onramp Saturday night and it was quite legible and impossible to miss; the “NO TRUCKS OR BUSES” sign is clear enough anyways. The giant, colorful “DANGER LOW CLEARANCE” sign is another giveaway. If the driver cannot read English, there’s also the helpful graphic depicting a truck colliding with an overhead obstacle. Here’s the approach to the actual bridge that the truck hit. It’s around a little bit of a curve, but there’s plenty of time to notice the bridge and the clearance sign. Even if the clearance sign was missing (which it wasn’t, from the earlier posted photos), I’d imagine an experienced commercial truck driver would have plenty of time to notice that the bridge is pretty low and react appropriately.

    So, the driver obviously ignored the multitude of signs at the entrance to Storrow. After that, perhaps he was seriously speeding and couldn’t slow down in time, or just wasn’t paying attention, or whatever. I, however, theorize that he probably noticed the clearance sign, but due to the fact that the bridge section/overpass is very arched, decided that he’d clear it if he stayed in the center lane since it does have a bit more clearance than is posted, since the clearance measurement would be taken from the lower of the two outer edges of the entire road.

  38. leprofie says:

    Moving trucks are always traveling in “No Truck” zones in order to deliver their goods. They are not restricted in the same way, because they deliver to residential areas.

  39. humphrmi says:

    Not to sound like a shill here, but if 25% of the customer’s belongings make it to their destination and the other 75% are replaced at full value at the destination, then the customer is effectively zero out-of-pocket, except for (1) irreplaceables (e.g. family heir looms), which probably shouldn’t be shipped by commercial carrier anyway, and (2) loss of use.

    So in that case, assuming that the insurance company deals with this guy fairly, I would say that the shipping expenses are fair. Assuming they get some sort of compensation for loss of use, of course.

  40. rasbach says:

    @psychos: It’s funny how you went through all that trouble to point that out, despite the fact that so many others already did. How many more “I live/drive by that sign everyday and it looks like this posts are we going to get here?

  41. Me - now with more humidity says:

    @humphrmi: Why would you not ship family heirlooms by commercial carrier? That’s like saying you wouldn’t trust a piano mover to move your piano. How else would you move them?

  42. Balisong says:

    @rasbach: Until people quit claiming the driver made a “mistake”?

    Everyone’s photos are pretty damning evidence. This was not a mistake, this was a blatant disregard of traffic signs and safety precautions. The driver is lucky no car was riding his tail.

  43. Orv says:

    @Me: From all the horror stories here, I’d guess you shouldn’t ship anything by commercial carrier if you want to see it again.

  44. azntg says:

    Truth be told, I can’t blame the driver. From my own experience, Boston is just a pain in the arse to drive in or even walk in for that matter. If the crazy roads won’t do you in, the crazy drivers will.

  45. Balisong says:

    Man, I’m gonna have to try these excuses next time I get pulled over for speeding – “Officer, these roads are so confusing and disorienting that I’ve temporarily lost the ability to read and interpret any signs I might see.”

  46. Juggernaut says:

    @rasbach: So you meant funny as in incredibly stupid, right?

  47. katm says:

    Ok can we lay off the driver now? Yes, he made a huge, expensive negligent mistake. Do you think he doesn’t know? He needs you to tell him? What is the point? Sounds like the company is taking care of the customers, and that’s what Consumerist is about right? Give the guy a break.

  48. hexychick says:

    Decent response from the company, but I’d like to know from the consumer if this is actually legit. Also, I still don’t get how being unfamiliar with an area puts you in a position where you can’t read signs or know the height of your own vehicle before going so fast you not only slam the truck, but you go all the way THROUGH the bridge and end up on the other side. I’m gonna go ahead and be a judgemental jerk about the driver’s abilities because one can ALWAYS hit the brakes and/or pull over at the first couple of signs. Also, why wouldn’t a company paid to drive cross country as their main business not have a properly mapped out route that would avoid this?

  49. shawntempesta says:

    honestly…i give a pass to most out-of-town drivers in Boston (except for drivers from RI and NH, you have no excuse).

    Boston’s streets are amazingly complex…Storrow Drive (where the accident occured) is a pretty major road, and trucks are constantly either driving down the road, realizing the mistake before they hit the bridge, and having to close down all the traffic so the truck can back up the length of the road…or they lodge their truck under a bridge/in a tunnel.

  50. malvones says:

    I hope Broadway’s correspondence with their actual customers was a little more apologetic. This whole dismissive “driver was from out of state” response is terribly weak.

    This couple sounded terribly nice in their original email, but I hope they won’t hesitate to retain a lawyer if they don’t get every cent they deserve from this debacle.

  51. Hanke says:

    @hexychick: I would put money on the driver following a GPS device explicity. He’s lucky he didn’t ‘Turn Right’ into an oncoming train.
    [www.cnn.com]
    [news.bbc.co.uk]

    And other blatant stupidity:
    [www.engadget.com]

  52. MMD says:

    What a bunch of crap to make a “standard procedure” argument to justify charging the customer. Is it standard procedure for the driver to ruin a load? No, it is not. Someone could have waived this charge and chose not to.

  53. Treved says:

    Wow.

    I used Broadway Express 3 years ago for a move from NY-LA and the SAME THING HAPPENED.

    Luckily my stuff wasn’t on the truck yet. On moving day they called to tell me the driver wrecked his truck by driving into a bridge he was too tall for. It almost screwed up my flights out of town and caused a great deal of stress, but BE paid for movers to load my stuff the next day and eventually delivered everything in good condition.

    While I have to wonder why this keeps happening to them, at least they man up and help the customer when it does.

  54. Ein2015 says:

    I like this response.

    Also, a charge makes the contract binding, so that way they COULD get the insurance on their things, etc.

  55. humphrmi says:

    @Me: As the article points out, except in cases of catastrophe, standard insurance is $0.60 / pound.

    Commercial movers are fine for washers, beds, etc.

    If you literally cannot replace it, and you want to keep it in the family, you should take it with you. Put it in the car, or ship it with a shipper that specializes in high declared-value shipments.

  56. tape says:

    @kretara: if you take “CLEARANCE 10 FT 6 IN” with a “grain of salt” while driving a 13 foot tall truck, you are a fucking moron, Boston or not.

  57. lemur says:

    If I had time, I’d collect all the comments from the original story which said that obviously $0.60/pound is the best the costumer could hope for. That would be amusing.

    But I don’t have time so I’ll just dream about it and have a good laugh in my head. (That will keep the voices at bay for a bit.)

  58. dreamboat says:

    funny, because the only time i saw or heard of this type of accident was in
    illinois, the driver’s home state. the locals tell me this happens often
    and i saw it twice in the one year i lived in chicago. (they keep re-paving
    old roads and never changing the signs to compensate for loss of inches.)

  59. MoreIceCream says:

    Kobe will show them all how to drive tomorrow in Boston.

    /threadjack

  60. Concerned_Citizen says:

    This person should get 100% of the value of the price of replacement items. You move your stuff so you don’t have to lose money rebuying everything. This was a reckless mistake, this is not accidental damage.

  61. godlyfrog says:

    @Balisong: I respectfully disagree. I understand that you drive this road all the time, so I can understand how you see it as natural to realize it’s there, but I also think you’d agree that people who do a task repeatedly become accustomed to it and it becomes hard for them to understand why others don’t do it as well as they do.

    I looked at your pictures, and I followed it all the way back to the Mt. Vernon street. It’s a sharp turn, and I can see how he could miss the sign that says, “Low Clearance”, but, even if he didn’t there’s one more sign ahead that could cause confusion. Going strictly by the images, and even taking into account the fact that a camera can only focus on one thing, I can’t believe that the driver could have seen the sign on the bridge ahead, but even if he could, I can see how he would have been confused, since the last exit before the damnably low bridge has a sign that says, “Low Clearance 14′”. It’s easy to see how someone could have mistaken the sign he turned off of to mean that sign, and since the road is quite straight, it’s easy to see the bridge that sign is talking about. At no point does it say that there will be an 11′ clearance, so the driver could have easily gotten confused.

    All this having been said, most if not all commercial truck route plan software has bridge height built into it, so even if the driver was new to the area, the company should have provided the driver with the instructions necessary to avoid the bridge. Either way, a mistake was made, and it’s up to the company to learn from it or not.

  62. egoods says:

    I was going down the 402 in Canada (just outside Sarnia) at 2am. I noticed a truck in the far left lane, and I saw several signs denoting an oddly low bridge (it was an arc). The truck was the extra tall car carrier. I cautiously sped up, as the truck went under the bridge at 65mph it ripped the top 3 cars off. It also stopped the truck dead in its tracks in 5 feet. I pulled over and made sure the driver was OK. I asked if he had seen the sign, he told me he was getting a route update on his computer right as it was happening. It was one of the scarier accidents I’ve ever seen (think full size pickups getting tossed around a road). In that case the driver was distracted… which seems to be common for truck drivers. They have GPS, CB, Laptops, Cellphones, and then traffic. I think the problem is distraction, no matter how experienced you are you still aren’t as alert when you’re trying to dial a cell phone. Simple as that!

  63. wdnobile says:

    While the insurance company is going to pay “full value” for his possesstions, why does he have to still pay for the service? I would think the company would refund his money simply for the inconvenience of having this happen. Additionally – why is his stuff still “en route?” Shouldnt it have been there by now?!?!

  64. picardia says:

    I agree that the driver’s unfamiliarity with the area is no excuse. If the moving company didn’t provide him with a route, and if the “experienced” driver can’t read clearance signs, they really don’t have any business charging more than the guys on Craigslist who will just show up and haul your stuff in a van. And I would even expect one of those guys to say, “Hey, that bridge looks low.”

  65. Robotech_Master says:

    Regarding paying first, I work at a logistics company (actually, a combined
    logistics and LTL trucking line) and went and asked the manager of our LTL
    trucking line about what they said about the standing procedure in the
    transportation industry being that the load has to be paid for first. She
    confirmed it, and said that it was “the law” (though I’m not sure whether
    she meant an actual statute law, or was just talking about a procedure so
    codified by practice that it was like a “natural law”). I would imagine the
    insurance company requires proof that what they are paying damages on has
    been paid for, so the customer won’t be getting paid twice for it.

  66. WilsonBurlington says:

    I found two companies named Broadway Express:

    1. US DOT # 665947: No authority.

    BROADWAY EXPRESS INC

    DBA

    Address

    3969WYOMING
    DEARBORN, MI 48121

    Mailing Address

    P O BOX344
    DEARBORN, MI 48121

    Telephone/Fax

    (313) 477-3676/(313) 291-2282

    2. US DOT #270552: No authority.

    Carrier Name

    BROADWAY EXPRESS INC

    DBA

    Address

    3177 IRVING BLVD
    IRVING, TX 75247

    Mailing Address

    3177 IRVING BLVD
    IRVING, TX 75247

    Telephone/Fax

    /

    Email

    Neither carrier is listed as a HHG mover.

    http://ai.volpe.dot.gov/

    I would find out who Broadway Express is leased to and contact the insurance
    company of the carrier they are leased to.

    Whose name was listed on the Bill of Lading?

    Since Broadway Express has no authority to move interstate freight I’d call
    1-888-DOT-SAFT with as much information as possible so the matter could be
    investigated.

    Best of luck, it sounds like you’re going to need it.

    Mike