Crash! Now What?
We talk a lot about how to prevent an accident, but now we would like to discuss what steps you can take if you are involved in an accident.
First, take a deep breath and gather your thoughts. Start by assessing the situation. Make sure your vehicle is secure and your parking brake is set; make sure to address immediate dangers such as fuel spills, electrical, and hazardous materials. Secure the scene by setting up your emergency triangles, and attend to other vehicles and occupants.
Notify law enforcement personnel. Obtain name and badge number of individual to whom you are speaking and approximate response time of officer to the scene.
Notify your dispatch about: location, type of accident, injuries if known, effect crash will have on your delivery schedule, assistance if required from dispatch.
Take photographs and written notes. Start away from the scene and work toward the accident. Note signage and traffic control; take pictures for view point of driver. Do not photograph people. Show the complete area with as much detail as possible.
Second, when giving out information talk only with identified law enforcement personnel. Do not volunteer information, only answer questions being asked. Do not engage in conversation with reporters, your only comment is “No Comment”. The investigating officer usually will provide an information exchange between other driver(s) and you. If there are any witnesses try to get their name, address, and telephone numbers. Make sure to jot down any comments made by law enforcement personnel at the scene.
Third, make a pre-trip inspection to preclude any additional damage or items of concern. Inspect your cargo for damage or shifting. Make certain that you received your CDL and Medical Certification back.
Forth, call your dispatch and advise if you or the other party received a citation. Tell your dispatch of any cargo condition that would preclude delivery to customer. Inform of any post-accident/pre-trip vehicle discrepancy.
Fifth, make any log book entries required and depart the scene. Gather your thoughts and go about your business of being a professional driver.
When you get back to the office make sure to complete an accident report. Add all state reports, driver exchange slips, witness information, pictures, notes and diagrams. Submit completed form to your Safety Director/Company Official.