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Minimising accident costs

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ACCIDENTS can be a huge cost, especially if transporting dangerous goods. In the case of serious accidents, there is always the time consuming exercise of accident investigation to determine the cause. Transtech Consulting Services Pty Ltd has products to help.

Stakeholders will aim to protect their own interests, and this can lead to arguments, acrimony, blame, wasted time and, ultimately, cost.

Drivers, subcontractors, fleet managers, the police, insurance and workers compensation investigators all have different vested interests driving their own view of what happened. Transport companies have much to gain by removing as much uncertainty from this process as possible. It is important to sift fact from fiction.

Making sound precautions is always the best place to start. Transport companies need to be sure that their systems will reduce uncertainty.

Two key ways to do so are to have a system to monitor accurately driver behaviour, and secondly, a system to monitor accurately vehicle behaviour. The emphasis is on accuracy. No transporter of dangerous goods should operate without such systems.

Transtech Consulting Services has worked collaboratively with a major operator in this sector to design and create these systems that are now available to the marketplace. Two years of operational use have delivered important benefits.

The first precaution to minimise exposure to heavy costs such as fines and law suits is to have precise fatigue management records of the driver involved in the accident. It makes sense, and it is a good investment to be sure that an electronic fatigue management system does not depend on the accuracy of manual entries. The electronic system should be configured to gather live data and continually store historical data about the driver's activities.

The second precaution to cut costs in the aftermath of an accident is for transport companies to equip their vehicles with a quality GPS and tracking system. Industry standard GPS systems will not do when it comes to accident investigation, because they cannot be depended on to give accurate position and speed.

These systems can wander up to 300 metres in positioning the truck, and they use a filtering system to determine approximate speed.

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