700-24
VEHICLE COLLISION REVIEW

POLICY & PROCEDURE

Subject:

VEHICLE COLLISION REVIEW

Index: SAFETY

Number: 700-24

Effective Date:

11/1/2013

Supersedes:

9/12/2011

Page:

1 of 9

Staff Contact:

Nancy A. Carlson

Approved By:

Denis Law

1.0 PURPOSE:

To establish a fair and impartial review system for all vehicular collisions involving City employees, in order to 1) improve the overall safety of City operations, 2) determine whether collisions are preventable or non-preventable; and 3) make recommendations to department Administrators regarding preventability.

2.0 ORGANIZATIONS AFFECTED:

This program applies to all City departments with the exception of all Police Department and Fire and Emergency Services Department collisions that occur during an emergency response.

3.0 REFERENCES:

City Policy 100-03, Use of City and Personal Vehicles

4.0 POLICY:

4.1    Collisions involving damage to City-owned motor vehicles and equipment, and all collisions in which City-owned motor vehicles and equipment caused damage to the property of others, shall be reviewed by the City of Renton Risk Manager, who also acts as the City’s Safety Officer. Should the Risk Manager determine that a formal review is necessary, the procedure in Section 6.0 shall be followed.

4.2    Collisions involving City employees when injuries or significant damage suggest that litigation is likely will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis as determined by the Risk Manager and City Attorney.

5.0 DEFINITIONS:

Collision: Any occurrence in which a City-owned vehicle, equipment, or a personal vehicle being used on City business is involved in a situation which results in death, personal injury, or property damage, regardless of who was injured, what property was damaged or to what extent, where it occurred, or who was responsible.

6.0 PROCEDURES:

6.1    Assigned duties of the Risk Manager:

6.1.1     Review all collision reports and determine if a formal review is necessary;

6.1.2    –Promote a constructive collision prevention program;

6.1.3    Solicit and receive employee suggestions for collision prevention and driving safety;

6.1.4     Make recommendations to department Administrators regarding finding on preventability; and

6.1.5    Make suggestions for collision prevention initiatives, programs, and/or trainings to reduce City-wide accidents.

6.2    Notifications of a Formal Collision Review:

6.2.1    Whenever an employee’s collision is to be reviewed, he or she will be notified in writing by email, that the incident will be reviewed to determine whether or not the collision was preventable or non-preventable on the employee’s part. If the employee does not have an email address, he or she will be contacted by phone or through his or her supervisor. The employee’s department Administrator will also be notified in writing.

6.3    Reviews:

6.3.1    The Risk Manager shall review each collision as soon as practical after the collision has occurred.

6.3.2    The investigator will examine all factual information available, including but not limited to, written collision reports, police reports, vehicle maintenance records, and any other sources of pertinent information.

The responsible condition and contributing factors (e.g., lack of training, equipment defect, driver error, and human error) should be determined. Preventability is not to be confused in the case of vehicular collision with the court room process of finding fault. A driver may not be “at fault” legally, but still may have been able to prevent the accident.

6.3.3    The Risk Manager may call or meet with the employee involved in the accident, or any witnesses to the accident, if it is deemed essential to the investigation. Employees are entitled to have Union representation present.

6.4    Determination and Finding:

6.4.1    A summary of each review shall be prepared by the Risk Manager and a copy kept in a central file. A copy of the review and final determination of preventability shall be added to the respective employee’s personnel file. The incident summary shall include the causes of the accident, the assessment of preventability, and recommendations to prevent future collisions. A copy of the summary, assessment and recommendations shall be sent to the Safety Committee, affected employee, Supervisor, and the respective department Administrator.

6.4.2    Decisions regarding preventability involve making a fair and honest decision. A fair decision may only be reached when all the facts are uncovered and complete details of the collision are obtained. The decision of preventability should be made on the basis on what the driver did or did not reasonably do to prevent or avoid the collision. An indication of preventability occurs when there is a citation issued or evidence of a violation of the law. However, if there is no violation or citation, it does not make the collision non-preventable. After all the information and reports have been obtained and assembled, the collision must be determined to be preventable or non-preventable.

6.4.3    If significant additional information emerges after a preventability decision has been issued, grounds for reversal of a decision may exist. If a decision is reversed, the information stored in the incident file and employee’s personnel file will be corrected.

6.4.4    A collision will usually be considered preventable when the information indicates that the employee:

6.4.4.1    Willfully violated any law or safety regulation;

6.4.4.2    Operated a City vehicle or equipment while under the influence of intoxicants and/or drugs or while drinking intoxicants;

6.4.4.3    Was careless or negligent in operating City vehicles or equipment; and/or

6.4.4.4    Failed to exercise all reasonable efforts and precaution to avoid an accident.

6.4.5    See Section 6.6 for this policy’s Preventability Guide.

6.5    Final Decision and Appeals:

The findings of the Risk Manager will be issued in writing within ten (10) business days from when the incident documentation is received. The findings will be preliminary and will be sent to the employee, his or her Department Administrator, and the Human Resources and Risk Management Department for filing in the personnel file.

Final determinations of preventable or non-preventable collisions are not appealable without significant new information and will remain in the employees personnel file for two years, unless there is another collision within that year period. If there is another collision in that two- year period, the records will be held over for another two years. If there is no collision during that two-year period, the records will be pulled and destroyed. Final determinations are not a form of written employee disciplinary action. Final determinations, however, may be used to support causes for disciplinary action.

The determination of preventability becomes final, without notice, after ten business (10) days, unless the employee submits an appeal of the findings to the Human Resources and Risk Management Administrator. An appeal will be reviewed and a final determination will be made by the Human Resources and Risk Management Administrator or designee. The appeal shall contain the following:

- A brief outline of the facts of the accident; and

- An explanation of why the employee believes that the preliminary decision was incorrect.

6.6    Preventability Guide:

A Preventability Guide is provided below. This guide is designed to assist in determining the preventability of vehicular accidents but cannot list every causal factor that may be involved in a given accident. It does cover the most common aspects of the principal causes of accidents, and as such, it can serve as a guide when considering preventability.

PREVENTABILITY GUIDE

A.    STRUCK IN SIDE OR REAR BY OTHER VEHICLE

Non-Preventable if:

1.     Driver’s vehicle was legally and properly parked.

2.     Driver was proceeding in own lane of traffic at a safe and lawful speed.

3.     Driver was stopped in traffic due to existing conditions or was stopped in compliance with traffic sign or signal or the directions of a police officer or other person.

4.     Driver was in proper lane, stopped and waiting to make turn.

B.    STRUCK WHILE PARKED

Non-Preventable if:

1.    Driver was properly parked in a location where parking was permitted.

2.     Vehicle was protected by emergency warning devices as required by federal and state regulations, or if driver was in process of setting out or retrieving signals.

C.    COLLISIONS AT INTERSECTIONS

Preventable if:

1.    Driver failed to control speed so that he could stop within available sight distance.

2.    Driver failed to check cross-traffic and wait for it to clear before entering intersection.

3.    Driver pulled out from a side street in the face of oncoming traffic.

4.    Driver collided with person, vehicle or object while making right or left turn.

5.    Driver, going straight through an intersection, collided with another vehicle making a turn.

Non-Preventable if other driver:

6.    Failed to control speed so that he could stop within available sight distance.

7.    Failed to check cross-traffic and wait for it to clear before entering intersection.

8.    Pulled out from a side street in the face of oncoming traffic.

9.    Collided with person, vehicle or object while making right or left turn.

10.    While going straight through an intersection, collided with another vehicle making a turn.

11.    Failed to yield to emergency vehicle.

D.    STRIKING OTHER VEHICLE IN REAR

Preventable if:

1.    Driver failed to maintain safe following distance and have vehicle under control.

2.    Driver failed to keep alert to traffic conditions and note slowdown.

3.    Driver failed to ascertain whether vehicle ahead was moving slowly, stopped or slowing down for any reason.

4.    Driver misjudged rate of overtaking.

5.    Driver came too close before pulling out to pass.

6.    Driver failed to wait for car ahead to move into the clear before starting up.

7.    Driver failed to leave sufficient room for passing vehicle to get safely back in line.

E.    SIDESWIPE AND HEAD-ON COLLISIONS

Preventable if:

1.    Driver was not entirely in the proper lane of travel.

2.    Driver did not pull to the right and slow down and stop for vehicle encroaching on own lane of travel when such action could have been taken without additional danger.

F.    STRUCK BY OTHER VEHICLE

Preventable if:

1.    Driver was passing slower traffic near an intersection and had to make sudden stop.

2.    Driver made sudden stop to park, load or unload.

3.    Driver’s vehicle was improperly parked.

4.    Driver rolled back into vehicle behind.

G.    SQUEEZE PLAYS AND SHUTOUTS

Preventable if:

1.    Driver failed to yield right of way to avoid an accident.

Non-preventable if:

2.    Other driver failed to yield right of way to avoid an accident.

H.    BACKING ACCIDENTS

Preventable if:

1.    Driver backed vehicle, causing accident, when such backing could have been avoided.

2.    Driver failed to get out of vehicle and check proposed path of backward travel.

3.    Driver failed to use a “spotter” if driver was in a position where the mirrors failed to show the hazard.

I.    COLLISIONS INVOLVING STREETCAR OR TRAIN

Preventable if:

1.    Driver attempted to cross tracks directly ahead of train or streetcar.

2.    Driver ran into side of train or streetcar.

3.    Driver stopped on or parked too close to tracks.

J.    COLLISIONS WHILE PASSING

Preventable if:

1.    Driver passed when view of road ahead was obstructed by hill, curve, vegetation, traffic, adverse weather conditions, etc.

2.    Driver attempted to pass in the face of closely approaching traffic.

3.    Driver failed to warn the driver of the vehicle being passed.

4.    Driver failed to signal change of lanes.

5.    Driver pulled out in front of other traffic overtaking from rear.

6.    Driver cut-in short returning to right lane.

K.    COLLISIONS WHILE BEING PASSED

Preventable if:

1.    Driver failed to stay in own lane, or hold or reduce speed to permit safe passing.

L.    COLLISIONS WHILE ENTERING TRAFFIC STREAM

Preventable if:

1.    Driver failed to signal when pulling out from curb.

2.    Driver failed to check traffic before pulling out from curb.

3.    Driver failed to look back to check traffic if driver was in position where mirrors did not show traffic conditions.

4.    Driver attempted to pull out in a manner, which forces other vehicle(s) to change speed or direction.

5.    Driver failed to make full stop before entering from a side street, alley, or driveway.

6.    Driver failed to make full stop before crossing sidewalk.

7.    Driver failed to yield right of way to approaching traffic.

M.    PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS

Preventable if:

1.    Driver did not reduce speed in area of heavy pedestrian traffic.

2.    Driver was not prepared to stop.

3.    Driver failed to yield right of way to pedestrian.

N.    MECHANICAL DEFECTS ACCIDENT

Preventable if:

1.    Defect was of a type which driver should have detected in making a pre-trip or an enroute inspection of vehicle.

2.    Defect was a type which driver should have detected during the normal operation of the vehicle.

Non-preventable if:

1.    Driver could not determine that defective equipment was present.

O.    ALL TYPES OF ACCIDENTS

Preventable if:

1.    Driver was not operating at a speed consistent with the existing conditions of the road, weather, and traffic.

2.    Driver failed to control speed to be able to stop within assured clear distance.

3.    Driver misjudged available clearance.

4.    Driver failed to yield right of way to avoid accident.

5.    Driver failed to accurately observe existing conditions and drive in accordance with those conditions.

6.    Driver was in violation of company operating rules or special instructions, the regulations of any federal or state regulatory agency, or any applicable traffic laws or ordinances.

7.    Driver fatigue/fell asleep at the wheel.

8.    Driver was under the influence of alcohol, any illegal drug, or prescription drug that contained any warning of operating equipment when used, or not prescribed for driver.

P.    COLLISIONS INVOLVING ANIMALS/DEBRIS

Non-preventable if:

1.    Driver attempted to stop safely while maintaining control of the vehicle and stay in their lane of traffic.

2.    Driver was operating at a speed consistent with existing condition of the road, weather, and traffic.

Preventable if:

3.    Driver was not operating at a speed consistent with the existing conditions of the road, weather, and traffic.

4.    Driver failed to control speed to be able to stop within assured clear distance.

5.    Driver misjudged available clearance.

6.    Driver failed to accurately observe existing conditions and drive in accordance with those conditions.

7.    Driver was in violation of company operating rules or special instructions, the regulations of any federal or state regulatory agency, or any applicable traffic laws or ordinance.

8.    Driver failed to restrain load to keep debris from falling off vehicle.