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    August 2018

    Effective Implementation of Traffic Accident Review Boards

    Institution-owned vehicles are a significant liability for colleges and a source of some of United Educators’ (UE) most costly claims. Institutions are establishing a traffic accident review board to help manage this risk and promote the safe operation of their vehicles. These boards investigate all college vehicle accidents to determine whether they were preventable and what responsive action can be taken. To effectively use these boards in supporting a culture of driver safety and accountability, consider the following recommendations.


    Authority 

    • Determine which office will oversee the board. Often, they are managed by the general counsel, risk management, or insurance office.
    • Select 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
      • Set forth the disciplinary consequences for a preventable accident finding
    • Consult with legal counsel to ensure that your school’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 to collect all evidence and information in a standardized manner.
    • Determine what data will be provided to the board 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
    • Keep the driver’s name and any identifying details anonymous to maintain impartiality.
    • 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. 


    Sample University Policies 

    Bowie State University

    Old Dominion University

    University of Minnesota

    University of Virginia

    By Christine McHugh, senior risk management counsel

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