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    March 2020

    Effectively Implement Traffic Accident Review Boards

    Institution-owned vehicles are a significant liability for colleges and universities and a source of some of United Educators’ (UE’s) most costly claims. Establish a traffic accident review board to help your institution manage this risk and promote the safe operation of your vehicles. The board will investigate your institution’s vehicle accidents to determine whether they were preventable and what responsive action can be taken. To effectively use a board in supporting a culture of driver safety and accountability, take the following recommendations.


    Authority 

    • Determine which office will oversee the board. Often, the board is managed by the office of general counsel, risk management, or insurance.
    • Choose staff from the campus’ public safety team, transportation department, risk office, and police force to serve on the board. 

    Guidelines

    • Develop a policy regarding preventable and nonpreventable accidents.
      • Provide details about the board’s responsibilities.
      • Enumerate the steps in the investigation and accident review process.
      • Define preventable and nonpreventable accidents.
      • Establish a standard for findings of responsibility.
      • Explain disciplinary consequences for a preventable accident finding.
    • Consult with legal counsel to ensure that your institution’s policy and board meet all state law requirements.
    • Create an appeals process that gives the driver the right to have the board’s decision reviewed by another committee or individual within the institution.

    Consistency

    • Develop an accident report form so there is a standard way to collect all evidence and information.
    • Determine what data the board should receive for each assessment. Consider including:
      • Police and driver accident reports 
      • Driver and witness statements 
      • Police, insurance, or institution investigation reports 
      • Photographs
      • Relevant facts such as speed and visibility
    • Maintain impartiality by keeping the driver’s name and any identifying details anonymous.
    • Create a model written decision to ensure the board’s determinations are issued in a uniform manner.

    Following these recommendations will enhance the traffic accident review board’s investigation and decision-making process as it works to improve vehicle safety on campus. 


    Additional Resources 

    Bowie State University: Vehicle Accident Review Board Policy & Procedures Manual

    Old Dominion University: University Policy — 3240 Accident Review Committee

    University of Minnesota: Vehicle Safety Board

    University of Virginia: University Accident Review Committee

    By Christine McHugh, senior risk management counsel


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