With close to 300 fatal motor vehicle crashes since the start of 2014, more motorists are having the unfortunate experience of dealing with a collision, which can result in serious injury, as well as 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 (JCF) 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; but, if there are any injuries; it is important that the injured limits his/her movement as this may cause further damage.
DSP McKenzie explained that exchanging pertinent information between drivers is an important step in the post-accident process as it will be needed by the Police and the relevant Insurance companies.
“The Police will need the drivers’ licenses, and certificates to confirm registration, fitness and insurance details. If the vehicle involved is a public passenger or commercial vehicle, the road license must be presented,” he noted.
Members of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) benefit from a comprehensive Emergency Roadside Assistance service; and, where necessary, Roadside Assistance Technicians will assist members who have a collision.
Duane Ellis, General Manager of the JAA, says “Technicians are trained to respond to a host of emergencies and can provide on-the-scene motor accident support; give First Aid; conduct 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.”
And, the JAA Manager indicated that they also assess security concerns; coordinate transportation of a disabled vehicle to repair centers; 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.