If you examine Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) numbers, you’ll see that the average commercial motor vehicle (CMV) accident resulting in property damaged came in around $18,000.
If there was an injury involved? Expect that number to jump to $331,000.
Also bear in mind that neither of these numbers take into account potential loss to reputation, damage to materials, insurance costs and other costs associated with the crash.
The fact is, accident costs are on the rise, and your fleet needs to have a plan in place to handle the situation should an accident occur.
Consider that a serious collision could completely sink a small business and it isn’t hard to understand why having adequate procedures in place could be the life or death of a business.
While you may be using technology, such as video-based solutions, that’s great, but you’re going to need more than just a video feed, you’ll need a plan.
Contact and Information Exchange
Your plan should include a place where your truck driver immediately pull over and assess the situation. If there are injuries, major damage, or a liquid spill, the first thing in the procedure should be for the truck driver contact the authorities.
Next, the trucker should contact dispatch and alert them of the situation. Everything must be properly documented, from the location to the time, date and circumstances of the collision. It is important that crucial aspects of what happened be recorded while they are still fresh in the mind.
It’s also important that your truck driver not discuss the incident with anyone at the scene outside law enforcement or emergency personnel, and people directly involved with the crash.
In this case it’s likely going to be someone in the back office who handles the insurance claim, but this is an important part of the process as they will want to begin their investigation immediately.
The insurance company themselves will decide whether to send an investigator or adjustor out to the scene. Don’t be surprised that – if called – the investigator may want to speak to other people within the organization, such as the truck driver’s manager or perhaps the dispatcher who was on duty when the accident occurred.
Ensuring your insurance company is quickly notified and that accurate data is sent to them will be vital in making sure your claim comes through clean and without error.
Depending on the situation, you may need to send additional personnel to the scene. Is there a load currently out there that will need to be picked up?
Furthermore, do you want to send a supervisor to the scene? Of course, you will be instructing the truck driver, but perhaps you want someone to help gather witnesses or corroborate accounts, or maybe survey the scene for other evidence or bits of information.
An important tip, whether for the truck driver or the person you send to the scene, is to create a “Witness Checklist” where they can document everything from direction on skid marks to traffic signs and road conditions.
The key to figuring your way through situations like these is to learn how to properly manage disruptions that may come as a result of the accident.
These include disruptions on the financial side due to increased costs, disruption in the shop due to a potentially very large repair coming in, disruption to the internal supply chain and the list goes on and on.
If you can manage it all with little to no disruption, you’ve developed a great network and are likely to get yourself through an accident crisis with little to no problem.
As long as you keep all of these tips in place, you’ll be ready for anything!