Crashes at the ports are becoming an all too common occurrence as truckers line
up at terminal gates and jockey for position to get in and get out as painlessly as
At the port, traffic control is often an oxymoron. There can be trucks entering and exiting the gates from all different directions with line stalkers looking for the opportunity to cut in on truckers who leave room and/or attempt not to block onstreet traffic lanes. With inflamed tensions, trucks bottleneck at the gates. There is obvious work to be done for the ports and truckers to come together to keep tensions in check and the traffic flowing as smoothly as possible.
Be aware that in those instances when trucks are too close together and tensions
are heightened, collisions are occurring at an increased rate – it is a very frustrating
situation for all involved. On the insurance side, the ports aren’t allowing claims
professionals entrance inside the terminal gates to perform investigations. Truckers
need to understand that because of this, it becomes a “he said”, “she said”
scenario. And, if the other guy has photo evidence and/or witnesses to corroborate
his claim, the preponderance of evidence can favor the other guy. Our claims
professionals need you to be aware of this situation and be prepared to take photos
of the accident scene. Take wide (panoramic) shots as well as closeups, and if
you can, get names and numbers of any witnesses. Notable is that we have had
instances where a trucker who hit one of our guys produced witnesses that (while
they were at the port) were not at the collision site at the time of the collision. It was
only through photographic evidence that we were able to discredit those witnesses.
While the ports around the country are making efforts to smooth the flow of traffic
through appointments, extended gate hours and other efficiencies it is still the
responsibility of truck drivers to operate safely. And, if/when you have a collision
preserve the scene as best as you can through photos/video and get names and
numbers of any witnesses.
These simple actions will go a long way towards defending your liability and
protecting your safety record and loss ratio.