Updated: Dec 2, 2022
A serious accident involving your commercial vehicle is a trucking company's worst nightmare, and the consequences can be severe. According to FMCSA data, fatality accidents involving large trucks or buses decreased by 34% from 2005 to 2009 but increased by 31% between 2010 and 2020. And according to NHTSA data, the number of these types of accidents increased by yet another 13% from 2020 to 2021. As addressed in a prior article, these types of accidents are leading to multi-million dollar jury verdicts and contributing to significant increases in commercial auto liability insurance premiums.
Although no one really wants to think about these types of accidents until they happen, it's important that carriers plan ahead so they know precisely what steps to take following a serious accident to best protect themselves and their drivers.
In a recent episode of Trucksafe LIVE!, we sat down with Jess Stenzel of PayneWest Insurance and Brendan Morse, Vice President and Director of Accident Reconstruction for the forensic engineering firm, ARCCA, to address the immediate aftermath of a serious accident and what fleets and drivers should be doing. Catch the full replay of the show below or on YouTube.
Key takeaways from this episode:
Make sure you have a post-accident checklist in each vehicle for your drivers to follow and ensure drivers are properly trained on the steps to take.
Notify your insurance company early on and regardless of the relative seriousness of the accident. Accidents that may not seem serious can balloon into substantial cases.
Preserve accident-related data as quickly as possible. Set the parking brake, turn off the engine, and remove the key from the vehicle to preserve critical vehicle data.
Take plenty of photos of the accident scene, but be cautious when taking photos of injuries or fatalities.
Cooperate with law enforcement and obtain witness statements.
Take immediate action to preserve back-office data, including video evidence, driver logs, telematics data, etc. Contact your technology vendors for assistance.
Be on the lookout for litigation hold letters from opposing counsel and ensure you are preserving data and records accordingly.,
If you need assistance preparing a post-accident checklist or training drivers on post-accident procedures, feel free to contact us. Also, be sure to sign up for our newsletter for breaking regulatory news and analysis. And subscribe to the Trucksafe LIVE! podcast wherever you get your podcasts.
About Trucksafe Consulting, LLC: Trucksafe Consulting is a full-service DOT regulatory compliance consulting and training service. We help carriers develop, implement, and improve their safety programs, through personalized services, industry-leading training, and a library of educational content. Trucksafe also hosts a monthly live show on its various social media channels called Trucksafe LIVE! to discuss hot-button issues impacting highway transportation. Trucksafe is owned and operated by Brandon Wiseman and Jerad Childress, transportation attorneys who have assisted some of the nation’s leading fleets to develop and maintain cutting-edge safety programs. You can learn more about Trucksafe online at www.trucksafe.com and by following Trucksafe on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.