Data shows that compared to accidents with only passenger vehicles, truck accidents are 55 percent more likely to result in at least one fatality. The majority of car vs. truck accidents are the fault of the passenger vehicle. However, this has to be proven, so truck drivers need to take the right precautions to make it easier to reconstruct the accident and alleviate liability when they are not at fault.
Common causes of car accidents include: distracted driving, drunk driving, excessive speed, reckless driving, and drowsy driving. It’s essential that every truck driver does everything in their power to avoid driving distracted or otherwise in order to be free of fault in the event of an accident. If, however, you are involved in an accident, there are a few things to do right after an accident happens:
- Stay put and never leave the scene
- Call the police
- Call for an ambulance for any injuries
- Exchange information with all involves parties
- Notify your trucking company
File an Accident Report
Trucking companies should be training their drivers about creating a comprehensive accident report. The driver’s information should include minute-by-minute details about what happened to cause the accident. This should include information concerning property and physical damage. They should provide full information regarding their license and truck, as well as insurance. Other important elements to note include:
- Inclement weather
- Any contributing factors on the road, such as major potholes or other damage
- Traffic conditions
- A description of the area, such as a four-way intersection or if it happened on a two-lane rural road
Talk to Witnesses
If some people witnessed the accident, statements from them and their contact information should be collected. These witnesses should also talk to the police who responded to the crash so that law enforcement also has this information.
Take Detailed Photographs
It is essential to show the scene exactly as it was immediately following the accident. The photos can be taken with a traditional camera or the camera on a cell phone. When the accident is being investigated, these photos can be critical pieces of evidence to help support the driver’s position.
Install a Dash Cam
This is something you would do before an accident. Dashcams can help provide exculpatory evidence that will help you avoid civil liability and prevent termination over the incident. This camera shows exactly what happened and can help to determine who is at fault for the accident. It may even be wise to install an additional camera in the rear to see how accidents may have happened that the driver couldn’t see. It can be reviewed by both the involved driver’s insurance companies and law enforcement.
Truck drivers should also inspect their trucks regularly to make sure they are always safe to drive. Should an accident occur, utilize this information to protect yourself, and be sure to always drive defensively.