One of our trucks was side swiped at a truck stop recently. A driver turned too early when leaving their parking space and damaged the mirror and the hood on our truck. Our driver was sleeping at the time and by the time he was able to get up front, to see what had happened, the offending truck had taken off. He/she just left.
The damage was minimal and no one was injured, but that isn’t the point. When you have an accident, or minor incident, you are required to stop and take responsibility for the incident. You need to exchange information, report it to your company, and take pictures.
Report all Incidents
If you strike anything with the truck, you need to report it to the property owner and to your company. You should take pictures of the truck, whatever you struck, and the surrounding area even if there aren’t any signs of visible damage. This is for your protection should there be a false claim of damage. Without pictures it is hard to prove that you didn’t cause the damage or prove the extent of the damage. If you leave the scene without reporting it, you’re in an even weaker position to dispute a false claim.
You should contact your company to report the incident even if there isn’t any damage. If an issue arises later on, your company shouldn’t be caught off guard; at least they will be aware of the incident and it’ll be on record.
Never Leave the Scene of an Accident
Leaving the scene of an accident can have serious consequences. Let’s assume for a minute that our diver wasn’t sleeping, was able to get up front more quickly, and was able to get a license plate number? What if there was a witness? In either case, once you leave the scene of an accident, the police will be involved. Leaving the scene carries heavy fines, will go on your driver’s record, and will negatively affect the safety profile of your company. Plus, and here’s the best part – you will have to explain why, as a professional driver and adult, you didn’t take responsibility for your actions.
As we’ve said in a previous article: it’s undesirable but understandable to have an accident. It’s unacceptable, for a professional, to try to avoid responsibility and put themselves and the company at odds with the law in the process.
We are professionals and a lot is expected of us. It’s something to be proud of.