Accidents cost you money. Worse yet, they get people hurt or even killed. Your best bet is to work to prevent accidents from happening. But what’s your plan when (not if) one of your drivers is involved in a collision?
If you want to reduce your cost of loss, liability, and inefficiencies, you need to invest in fleet accident management and develop an accident response plan.
On average, even a minor accident costs you $16,000. If someone is injured, the average cost for a company is $70,000. These numbers come straight from OSHA.
Accidents are so costly because, at the very least, they lead to lost time, late freight, vehicle downtime, and vehicle repair costs. At their worst, they lead to court dates, workers’ comp, and massive fines.
You may be thinking that you’ve never had a major accident. The numbers say it’s only a matter of time. Consider the 2019 accident statistics from the NHTSA:
When you look at it that way, it’s just a matter of time until one of your drivers’ numbers are called and they cause a collision. You need to have an accident response plan in place.
An accident response plan is a crucial part of fleet accident management. An accident response plan is a procedure with set steps in place taken after an accident by your drivers, your dispatchers, your managers, and possibly executives.
The accident response plan details who in your company is responsible for what duties, when those actions must take place, and when those actions must be completed by.
Your drivers, managers, and any other involved personnel must have the company’s accident response plan memorized.
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An accident response plan is a coordinated effort between your driver, dispatch, and managers. Each person has a different set of priorities and responsibilities.
Important note: the strategies listed below are best practices. We are not lawyers and do not offer legal advice. We are experts in transportation safety and implementing safety procedures.
The driver’s responsibilities are the most straightforward. However, they’re also the most important. Your driver must take these actions in this specific order:
When dispatch is called about an accident, they must act quickly. Their job is to alert the appropriate personnel as soon as possible.
While talking to the driver, the dispatcher must learn:
In addition, the dispatcher should maintain a professional tone, remind the driver to stay calm, and ensure that the driver is in a safe place.
Once they are off the phone with the driver, your dispatcher should contact their manager immediately.
Once the dispatcher alerts the manager, he or she must act just as quickly. The manager has several responsibilities:
Whoever is a responder to the scene is charged with helping to ensure the scene is safe, cooperating with law enforcement, calling their insurance company at the scene, and ensuring the company does not increase its liability by admitting fault.
First and foremost, you need to have your accident response plan written down, step-by-step, with explicit instructions on who is involved. Then, you need to make sure everyone knows it. There are a few strategies you should use to accomplish this.
You must invest in fleet accident management and an accident response plan. Having the correct processes in place can reduce your liability, cost of loss, and potentially save lives. However, the best accident response plan is one that prevents accidents in the first place.
If you invest in online defensive driving training and instructor and driver certification, you can reduce your accidents and cost of loss by 20% or more. Your reductions of loss will more than makeup for your investment.
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