Why investigate accidents?
As a commercial vehicle or a car fleet owner, you're bound to be concerned about the profitability of your business and the safety of your drivers.
Investigating your vehicle accidents gives you a clear picture of the nature and frequency of accidents and the drivers involved. You can use this information to improve your company’s road safety record and, in turn, minimize your company's financial losses.
A good accident prevention program includes regular accident investigations, which can help you:
- Determine the cause of the accident and take steps to prevent future accidents.
- Manage your automobile fleet more effectively (stricter monitoring to eliminate accident-related costs).
- Show your company’s commitment to accident prevention and driver safety.
- Reduce accidents, minimize service interruptions and lower your company’s operating costs.
Improving your road safety record will not only cut accident-related costs (e.g., damaged vehicles off the road for repairs or injured drivers off work), it can also help reduce your insurance premium.
What’s involved in an accident investigation?
The goal is to objectively determine the facts. This involves:
- Describing how the accident occurred.
- Finding out the cause of the accident or any contributing factors (e.g., inexperienced driver, poor road conditions, driver fatigue, poor vehicle maintenance, obstacle on the road, loss of control, not-at-fault accident, hit and run).
- Deciding on corrective measures (e.g., winter driving training, longer rest periods between shifts, vehicle safety checks before each trip, and educating employees about safe driving).
- Identifying trends vs. isolated incidents.
- Following up to make sure the corrective measures are working.
This analysis will give you a clear picture of the nature and frequency of the accidents and the drivers involved. You can then use this information to improve your company’s road safety record.
During the investigation, the driver involved in the accident gives their version of events. It’s essential to tell drivers if they need to take corrective measures. In the case of an at-fault accident (running a red light, for instance), the driver needs to understand the importance of road safety. These kinds of infractions are costly not only for the company, but for the driver as well, who is penalized with demerit points on their driving record.
In some cases, you might want to revise your training criteria for hiring new drivers or make sure all drivers to take ongoing training.
If you own or operate heavy vehicles, having too many accidents in a year can have an adverse effect on your safety rating and even compromise your operating licence with Commission des transports du Québec. In conclusion, accidents can lead to delivery delays, lost productivity and extra costs, such as the insurance deductible and higher insurance premiums. In the long run, they can even hurt your company’s reputation. By investigating your vehicles’ accidents, you’ll be better equipped to improve your road safety record, and, in turn, minimize your company’s financial losses due to accidents
Content produced by Desjardins Business Insurance.
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This information in this article is of a general nature and is provided for information purposes only. It is not exhaustive. Any action taken after reading it should be carried out safely and, if necessary, by an experienced person who is authorized to do so.