Brokers Launches RTC Crisis Line to Protect Coach Operators
18.06.23 · News
Award-winning fleet transport insurance specialist, McCarron Coates, has launched a unique legal advice service for its clients – RTC Crisis Line.
This is a response to the increased probability of coach operators being prosecuted following a collision and the service is on offer to all McCarron Coates’ clients.
RTC Crisis Line offers coach operators 24/7 access to transport-sector legal specialists who can instantly offer advice and legal representation, the minute a driver is involved in a road traffic collision.
With just one call, the service connects any driver, standing at the roadside facing police interview after a blue light collision, with a legal specialist. The specialist offers instant instruction on how to proceed and liaises with police, to determine to which police station the driver will be taken. The legal specialist will then head to that station, to instruct, advise and protect the driver during their police interview. This, in turn, protects the company and senior individuals within it.
The service covers the golden minutes associated with any such incident – those in which a shocked or traumatised driver can unwittingly incriminate themselves, by saying something later used against them. Driving incidents are the only type of crime for which this is possible, with any other seeing initial accounts taken only at the police station.
RTC Crisis Line steps in to help prevent cases being won or lost in those early moments, when the driver might speculate about what happened and be taken at their word later.
Early dialogue with the police means the legal expert receives critical information at the start, rather than at the end of the criminal investigation, when it can be too late to put forward viewpoints as to why a situation might have occurred. Early legal representation can help control the cost of a claim but, most crucially, also keep a driver – or their employer or agency – out of prison.
The service assists with charges such as causing death by dangerous driving, those relating to serious injuries caused by drivers, corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter and offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974.
RTC Crisis Line is also being launched by McCarron Coates as we approach the anniversary of a new driving offence, which has largely gone under the radar. This is ‘causing serious injury by careless or inconsiderate driving’, introduced in the 2022 Police Crime and Sentencing Act and added to the Road Traffic Act 1988. This can result in drivers being interviewed at police stations, if a ‘serious’ injury has been inflicted on a third party, with that definition even covering just a broken bone. A jail sentence of up to two years is the possible penalty, for just a momentary loss of focus and concentration on the road.
However, the new RTC Crisis Line service does not just provide the expert legal representation required but also helps minimise any reputational damage to the employer’s or agency’s business, through crisis PR.
McCarron Coates director, Ian McCarron, says, “We are proud to offer our clients this ‘first’, having recognised that the legal implications of a driver being involved in any type of RTC are huge. With the 2022 Highway Code establishing a hierarchy of road users, with drivers of coaches and HGVs at the bottom, deemed responsible for the safety of all other road users, there is even more likelihood of the law coming down hard on drivers of these larger vehicles.
“We want to deliver peace of mind to our clients. They do not now have to suddenly become legal experts or urgently try to find a lawyer for a driver taken to an interview room. Just one call will put them, and their driver, in the best possible hands as the legal process unfolds and prevent drivers from incriminating themselves and their employer, without even realising they are doing so. It enables the right conclusion to be reached in a case, with the least possible damage to the driver and whoever they were representing on the road. We regard having RTC Crisis Line as pretty much a ‘must’, not a ‘nice to have’.”
To find out more about RTC Crisis Line and McCarron Coates’s dynamic approach to insurance broking, call 0113 298 3489, or visit www.mccarroncoates.com