Imagine your next phone call is one of your employees explaining that a pedestrian has been struck by a company vehicle. Do you know what to do? Do your employees? These calls are happening more frequently at automotive dealerships than ever before.
Pedestrian strikes with company vehicles have been increasing over the last few years. Contributing factors include distracted drivers/pedestrians and an increase in walkers, joggers, bicyclists and bikers on the streets, parking lots and sidewalks.
There are a few simple steps you can take to help prevent these incidents from occurring. The single most important practice you can implement is a written and fully-executed vehicle use agreement with anyone assigned an auto. The agreement should prohibit the use of a cellphone while driving. It is a very common practice for plaintiff attorneys to secure the driver’s phone and text records moments before an accident to determine if the driver was potentially distracted. They can argue the distraction was the proximate cause or contributed to the accident.
The second most important thing you can do is provide basic training to your employees who drive company vehicles on what to do if a pedestrian is struck.
A simple checklist to review with your employees:
- Establish an accident reporting standard procedure.
- Regularly review vehicle operating safety rules with your employees, including accident reporting procedures if your employees are involved in an accident.
- If someone is injured, your employees should call 911 immediately.
- Take pictures of the scene where the accident occurred.
- Take pictures of the auto where the pedestrian struck the car.
- It is important that your employees never comment to anyone their judgements on who is at fault or what may or may not have caused or contributed to the accident.
Take the time to implement procedures so you and your employees know what to do.