Learning from our mistakes: Accident review boards and collision management
August 31, 2012
By Bruce Davisson, Director of Light Duty Division, Center for Transportation Safety
“Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”
-- George Santayana
Crashes are going to happen so why not make them a learning experience?
A good comprehensive safety program can go a long way to mitigate risk and reduce crashes, but the inevitable will happen. One of the best ways to prevent the next crash sounds simple enough, but is often overlooked in the rush of everyday business – evaluate the details of what happened. By tracing the steps that led to the crash and reviewing details related to the driver, the vehicle and the situation, you can uncover a wealth of information that can help you prevent future crashes.
One of the most important components involved in managing an accident is assembling a risk management review board to evaluate individual accidents. Review boards often include managers from business areas including safety, risk, human resources, fleet and loss control.
With crash data available almost immediately, review board members can and should get started on an accident evaluation right away by reviewing accident details thoroughly to spot trends on fleet drivers and other information.
When the review board identifies drivers with records that include multiple accidents or drivers who are “at-fault,” they should call for those drivers to undergo safety training and post-accident coaching. Fleet managers also can consider other disciplinary actions against these drivers, but should keep in mind company limitations and any legal guidelines.
Also note that drivers need to be held responsible for violations at the time they occur and pay fines immediately. Fleet managers should consider implementing a more formal violations recovery program to collect these penalty fees and to reduce company costs.
With collisions as with anything else in life, it’s important to learn from our mistakes. If you have experiences to share with using Accident Review Boards or safety programs at your organization, please post a comment below.