Insurance Helpline With Cedric Stephens
HELPLINE: Tailgating is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in Jamaica, according to a study conducted by the Mona GeoInformatics Institute.
The findings of that analysis are consistent with other investigations done around the world. Tailgating, according to Wikipedia, is the practice of driving on a road too close to the vehicle in front, at a distance which does not guarantee that stopping to avoid collision is possible.
Approximately one third of rear-end collisions involve tailgating. This action is illegal and punishable by a fine in some countries. The MGI report stated that 14,123 accidents were caused by tailgating.
The truck was driving too closely behind your vehicle. As a result, the driver did not have sufficient time and space in which to bring his vehicle to a complete stop without hitting yours.
Many drivers here are unaware that safe driving practices are based on science (physics) or, that we live in an age where information on every topic is available at the click of a mouse or with a finger swipe.
I entered the phrase 'braking distances for cars' in my web browser. It presented me with 15.8 million results in 0.34 seconds.
Information from a United Kingdom government site showed the average stopping distances for cars based on speed. The total distances shown in the table are dependent on the perception and reaction time of the driver, (the thinking distance), the road surface, weather conditions and the braking capability of the vehicle.
The newly revised Jamaican Driver's Guide contains identical information on page 72. The stopping distances for trucks are generally more than 50 per cent longer than cars travelling at the same speed.
See graphic insert.
The person driving the rear car is liable for damages in the vast majority of rear-end collisions. This is because he/she failed to drive in a way that would have allowed him/her to stop short of hitting the car in front.
negligent driver pays
When found liable, or legally responsible, the driver of the rear car must provide compensation to, cover all of the expenses of the injured party. Compensation in rear-end collisions is usually paid by the negligent driver's insurance policy.
Since you have a comprehensive policy, the norm is for you to file a claim under your policy. Your insurers would pay to repair the vehicle less the policy deductible which, generally, is five per cent of the vehicle's estimate of value.
You would have to pay that amount and ask your insurer to recover it from the truck driver's insurance in addition to any costs that you incurred in hiring a replacement vehicle.
There are two other things that you should know. The first is that the truck driver's insurer does not have to accept his argument that you caused the collision. They can settle your claim without any reference to him. The second is that they could refuse to pay your claim if they were to find out that he failed to comply with the terms of his policy. My hope is this will not happen and force you to recover directly from him.
The truck driver and persons like him - Opposition MP Everald Warmington, for example - are ignorant about the theory and practice of driving. They overlook facts that link tailgating, braking distances, and speeding with motor accidents, deaths, and injuries.
When time is wasted in Parliament questioning the authority of the police to prosecute drivers who commit offences under the Road Traffic Act, like exceeding the speed limit, is it surprising that the truck driver blames you for the accident when he crashed into the back of your car?
Cedric E. Stephens provides independent information and free advice about the management of risks and firstname.lastname@example.orgSMS/text message to 812-7233.