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McCarron Coates become first broker to help fleets avoid prison threat

17.07.23 · News

 Award-winning fleet transport insurance broker, McCarron Coates, has launched a unique service for its fleet transport clients, to help protect drivers and company finances alike.

The Leeds-based broker is offering commercial transport operators, courier firms and company car fleets what is rapidly being viewed as a must-have layer of protection, following an increase in prosecutions under the 2022 offence of ‘Causing serious injury by careless or inconsiderate driving’ and the 2022 changes to the Highway Code.

Given the huge scope of the definition of ‘careless or inconsiderate driving’ in legal terms and that even causing a broken arm in a collision can be deemed a ‘serious injury’ that could result in a prison sentence, the fleet transport specialist has launched RTC Crisis Line.

This service is offered in conjunction with legal specialists, LMP Legal.  Through its launch, McCarron Coates has become the only broker to negotiate a means of incorporating legal representation, following a police-attended road collision, into its standard service.  It has also done so at a fraction of the cost of taking out the service direct.

RTC Crisis Line offers fleets 24/7 access to lawyers, who can instantly offer advice and legal representation the moment a driver is involved in a blue-light road traffic collision.  This provides protection during the ‘golden minutes’ in which a case can be won or lost.  One call immediately connects any driver with the assistance required.  Should the driver be taken to a police station, it also instantly triggers a lawyer’s attendance there.

The service can prevent a driver from unwittingly incriminating themselves, by saying something later used against them.  Drivers covered by the policy are not put in a position in which they effectively admit blame, whilst actually just in shock and trying to process events.

Early dialogue with the police also means the legal expert appointed through RTC Crisis Line receives critical information quickly, rather than at the end of the criminal investigation, when it can be too late to successfully argue a case.  This can both control claims costs and  prevent a custodial sentence for driver or employer.

McCarron Coates director, Ian McCarron, says, “We have had our finger on the pulse of the new legislation and were concerned about its impacts on fleets. Having drivers unavailable, whilst attending police interviews and court hearings, not to mention the threat of them being off the road because of a prison sentence, is a nightmare, particularly in a sector continually suffering from driver shortages.

“However, such scenarios can often be avoided, if a fleet can prevent drivers falling into a legal trap at the roadside. This is why we are offering all clients instant legal representation for any driver involved in a collision that is attended by the police.”

Whereas a car driver might avoid a serious penalty for causing an injury in a collision that resulted from a lack of concentration or bad driving habit, an HGV driver is far less likely to do so.  The 2022 Highway Code established  a hierarchy of road users, in which HGV drivers were placed at the bottom, deemed responsible for the safety of all other road users.  The vehicle’s place in the hierarchy is considered when penalties are being handed out.

“We were the only broker to warn of the new Highway Code’s liability implications and our prediction was correct.  HGV and courier drivers can find themselves in the dock more than other drivers, so need greater protection now.  RTC Crisis Line is what all fleets need, to try to safeguard their drivers from prison sentences and also avoid heavy fines,” says McCarron.

RTC Crisis Line enquiries can be made by calling 0113 298 3489.  More information about the broker is at