Even with the most sophisticated driver coaching and company safety programs, accidents at times are inevitable. Sometimes they are the fault of other drivers on the road, and other times it is the drivers own fault. Most vehicle accidents are due to driver error however at times other factors may apply. Accident investigation can become easier and more comprehensive when utilizing a fleet management system such as V-Track. Once the applicable authorities are contacted and the accident has been reported, companies of often want to review what happened. There are several factors to keep in mind when investigating an accident.
- Review The Video Footage Of The Event
Often times when there is impact, a telematics event will trigger a video alert. Most of the time this is a hard breaking even, however others can apply as well. Most video systems will allow for videos to be downloaded from a specific time period, even several minutes before the accident that will tell a compelling story on what caused the event. Often, we see erratic driving, as well as driver behavior from other vehicles on the road. Downloading event video footage is the best way to review the story on what went wrong before the accident occurred. The video footage can also become an effective liability tool that can be shared with authorities, insurance companies, as well as company safety departments. We have often seen safety departments use internal accident videos for training, coaching, as well as review.
- Review Driver Behavior Before The Event
As important is the video footage of the accident may be, it’s also important to review the driver behavior before the event as well as during that day. We do see accident that may not have been the drivers’ fault but could have been prevented if the driver took proactive driving steps. The most common driver behavior we see that causes accident is distracted driving. The distractions come from phone use, eating, managing paperwork and others. It is also important to see if the driver was wearing their seatbelt and had both hands on the wheel. This data can be critical in determining the root cause of the accident, as well as serve as an effective coaching tool for the driver as well as others.
- Look for GPS/Telematics Information
GPS and Telematics information can also be critical during accident investigation. This data will tell fleet managers where the driver was prior to the even. It can also determine if the GPS breadcrumb trails are grouped together in certain areas that will see traffic patterns, erratic behavior, and speeding. Telematics data will show if there are any vehicle fault codes that may have been generated indicating equipment malfunction. It can tell a comprehensive story that fact checks the drivers’ statement during the investigation or if perhaps the driver may be leaving critical details on what occurred.
- Review The Drivers Scorecard
Systems such as V-Track provide data on driver behavior, such as their fleet efficiency, speeding events, seat belt use, distracted driving evens and much more. A review of the drivers’ safety score can paint a story if the driver may have displayed safe or unsafe driving behavior, been a habitual speeder, had excessive RPM use and more. If the driver for instance has had a very strong safety record, and had never exhibited risky behavior, it can show that the accident may have been an isolated incident outside of the driver’s control. Driver Scorecards are designed to be a proactive safety tool to prevent accidents in the first place, however, can provide vital information during accident investigation.
Technology has come a long way for fleet management in providing important data during accident investigation. No longer do we live in a world where all we had was the drivers’ statement and a few eyewitnesses. Utilizing video footage and telematics information can be a powerful tool when determining liability as well as coaching for better driving in the future.