Your drivers truck crashes! Luckily, only minor injuries to those involved. The car and the truck, sustained major damage. The tractor-trailer ended up in the ditch on its side, with the cargo spilled all over the place. The police are on site and they are investigating the cause of the crash. The insurance adjuster will soon arrive, because you have notify the insurance company right away. You have instructed your operator/driver not to speak to the media or give a statement. Yes, you read that right. You told your driver not to give a statement.
Most people believe that you have to give the statement to the police officer as to what happened preceding the crash. Especially if you feel you are not at fault or the main cause of the crash. The driver wants to plead their innocence with the officer. The driver wants to explain how the crash was not their fault and how they are innocent, and the other person should be charged.
After a crash you may not be thinking clearly. Your adrenaline is rushing and you are likely upset.
All of these factors can contribute to the driver saying something however innocently, but inappropriate to officer. The driver should be instructed to give to the officer all information that is required by law. The driver must be cooperative and should be friendly. But the driver does not have to make a statement. In Ontario under the Highway Traffic Act a driver does have to give the following information and this is a direct quote from the highway traffic back, section 200 (1) “Duty of person in charge of vehicle in case of accident”.:
“Upon request, give in writing to anyone sustaining loss or injury or to any police officer or to any witness his or her name, address, driver’s licence number and jurisdiction of issuance, motor vehicle liability insurance policy insurer and policy number, name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle and the vehicle permit number.”
The act also states that you must remain at the scene of the collision or return as soon as possible and that you must render all the assistance possible.
So how do you say to officer that you are refusing to give a statement? Hold the difficulties of life. As I previously mentioned, you are involved in a crash, you are upset, your adrenaline is running and you are innocent. You want everyone to know that you are innocent! Now there is an officer with a badge and a gun and they are asking you what happened and I’m telling you not to make a statement. How in the world can you listen to me?
It is difficult but possible. The best thing to say would be:
“I have been instructed by my safety department to comply with the law and to give you the information that you are required to have. I have been instructed not to give a statement.”
That’s it, blame it on the safety department! You could also say it is company policy not to give it statement after a crash. Most experienced officers will understand.
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