Correct steps after crash critical
With close to 300 fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2014, in addition to the numerous non-fatal - though serious - crashes and fender benders, more persons are having the unfortunate experience of dealing with a collision, which can result in serious injuries, loss of life and property.
However, while the experience is usually traumatic for all involved, it is what happens in the aftermath of a collision that can inflict the greatest toll on those affected. Therefore, knowing what to do immediately after a crash, whether it is major or minor, is important and can save lives.
Gary McKenzie, deputy superintendent of police in the Jamaica Constabulary Force Traffic Division, says that once a motorist is involved in an accident, "their first action is to stop at the scene, make notes in respect of any tyre marks on the road, positions of the vehicles, take photos if a camera is available, and exchange vehicle information and contact details with other driver or drivers".
These basic actions should be taken once those involved in the collision are able to do so. However, if there are any injuries, it is important that the injured person limits his/her movement as this may cause further damage to them.
DSP McKenzie explained that exchanging pertinent information between drivers is an important step in the post-crash process, as it will be needed by the police and relevant insurance companies. "The police will need the driver's licences and vehicle certificates to confirm registration, fitness and insurance. If the vehicle involved is a public passenger or commercial vehicle, the road licence must be presented," he noted.
Members of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) benefit from a comprehensive Emergency Roadside Assistance service. Where necessary, roadside-assistance technicians will assist members who meet in a crash. A number of insurance companies also have their own roadside-assistance units which provide similar services.
Duane Ellis, general manager of the JAA, said, "Technicians are trained to respond to a host of emergencies and can provide on-the-scene motor accident support; administration of first aid; conducting accident investigation and start the process of preparing insurance claims on the member's behalf."
He further stated that, "We advise our members that if they are involved in a crash, once they have contacted the police they should call our toll-free number to request assistance at the scene."
The JAA manager indicated that the company's representatives also assess security concerns; coordinate transportation of a disabled vehicle to repair centres; facilitate medical assistance; and assist with minor repairs. As a service standard, the JAA's roadside-assistance team seeks to respond to emergency call within 40 minutes or less.
DSP McKenzie emphasises that it may also be helpful if persons involved in an accident get the name, regulation number and station assigned to the police officer who is on the scene of an accident. This information will be needed for the motorist to file a police report.