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Learn From Critical Crashes To Avoid Future Tragedy

The worst time to implement a plan for handling a critical crash is right after one has occurred.  Critical crashes are vehicular accidents that involve a fatality, serious injury, hazardous material release, or some other form of catastrophic loss.  Regardless of which party is at fault, a critical crash can be incredibly costly in terms of dollars, time, and reputation.  How a crash is handled within minutes after it occurs can have a huge impact on your company.

Because the majority of fleets operating in the United States have not been involved in a critical crash within the last 10 years, fleet operators can become complacent, according to Steve Bojan, Senior Risk Consultant at HUB International Risk Services.  "You may not see yourself as likely to be involved in a crash of this magnitude and think that the authorities and your insurance carrier will manage the process for you," he said.  "In reality, they are only a part of the solution and their objectives are not always aligned with that of your organization."

HUB International Risk Services recommends to all organizations operating vehicle fleets that they develop a critical crash response plan and educate drivers, supervisors and senior managers.  "The first few minutes after a crash are critical," said Steve.  The company's first priority is the safety and health of their driver.  The driver needs to be able to contact someone in authority at your company and that individual must provide the driver with good advice and support." 

"When a critical crash occurs, your driver is often disoriented and scared," said Steve.  "They need to be reassured and provided direction on what information to provide and how to deal with people on the scene.  Everyone needs to understand their roles and responsibilities as well as whom to contact and when.  They will also need to know what outside resources are available and how to get in touch with them.  Ongoing communication is extremely important," he said.

Steve also suggests contacting your insurance broker and carrier as soon as possible.  Your company's senior management needs to be prepared to answer questions internally and externally.  An attorney may need to be engaged quickly to give advice and invoke privilege.

To learn more about critical crash preparation, view the HUB International on-demand webinar, entitled "Critical Crashes: What to Do Before and After a Crash to Reduce your Exposure".   It discusses a number of key components of any critical crash response plan and can serve as a starting point to developing a program that will enable your company to be better prepared to manage a catastrophic loss.

The webinar will review the ANSI Z-15 Standard that has been developed to provide guidance on best practices to fleets.  This standard covers the steps a company should put in place to improve fleet safety and what to do during and after a critical crash situation including the following:

  • Reviewing your drivers' MVR's
  • Developing a fleet policy
  • Appointing an individual who is responsible for fleet safety
  • Educating your drivers on what to do and how to report a crash
  • Using data to prevent future accidents

Other important components of a crash response plan include taking photographs, compliance with government and company regulations, when to send a company representative to the scene of the crash and how to collect additional information.

Information gleaned from a critical crash can be used to improve driver education, operational procedures, hiring practices, and how your company identifies at-risk drivers, all of which can help prevent future occurrences.  

All critical crashes are terrible situations, but not learning from them is a tragedy. Register for the complimentary webinar today. For more information, contact your HUB International Risk Services consultant.  

For more information on transportation and fleet insurance, visit HUB Transportation.