How to Reduce the High Cost of a Truck Accident

Haley Bass

The road can be a dangerous place for everyone. Add a 40-ton truck and 8 hours of non-stop driving to the mix, and that danger increases exponentially. The risk of getting in an accident is a regular job hazard for truck drivers, and the effects can be disastrous.

Between the vehicle damage, medical bills, and lost productivity, accidents involving commercial trucks can end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars -- millions if the accident involves a fatality. Some of these costs may be covered by insurance, but the extra, indirect costs of accidents come straight out of a company’s profits.

The Real Cost of an Accident

The cost of an accident is more than meets the eye. On the surface, you can expect to pay for vehicle and cargo damage, injury care, and insurance increases. But the indirect costs you might not expect can end up being four to ten times greater than those direct costs. They include lost time and productivity, hiring or training replacement workers, loss of property, and even negative publicity. 

The accident cost also comes with several variables: the size of the truck, whether there were injuries or fatalities, the extent of damage, the cause of the accident, etc.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) lists the average cost of an accident at just under $100,000. With injuries, that price increase to about $200,000. And with a fatality, the cost hikes up to about $3.6 million.

Preventing an Accident

The best way to avoid these large costs is by preventing accidents from happening in the first place. While you can’t control the weather or other drivers’ mistakes, you can at least prepare your own drivers and vehicles to perform safely.

Implementing and enforcing a driver safety program can effectively reduce the risk of accidents and keep truck drivers safe on the road. A safety program should include a set of written policies and procedures that drivers should follow to practice safe driving. Policies should require seatbelts to always be worn, hands to always be on the wheel, and phones to always be off limits while driving. There should also be procedures for properly maintaining company vehicles, with scheduled inspections and servicing to keep trucks in safe condition.

Reducing an Accident’s Costs

Even if a truck driver is driving as safely as possible, there are still circumstances out of their control that can lead to an accident. While you may not be able to avoid the costs entirely, you can still reduce the costs with an effective occupational medicine program.

An effective occupational medicine program will help an injured driver get the treatment they need, quickly. An occupational medicine provider is trained to treat work-related injuries, including car or truck accidents, and will develop an active, personalized treatment plan to get an injured worker back on their feet with a faster, fuller recovery. The sooner an employee recovers and returns to work, the less the employer ends up paying for medical bills, lost productivity, wage reimbursement, etc.

Concentra not only has more than 35 years of experience in occupational medicine, we’re also one of the leading providers in the trucking industry. Our physicians are trained to understand FMCSA and DOT regulations, and can perform regulatory physicals and screenings as well as treat injuries. Talk to one of our work health experts to learn more about how Concentra’s occupational medicine program can benefit your business.