What’s protocol for a 3-vehicle crash?

Trooper Steve answers viewer questions

ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions and shares tips about the rules of the road, helping Central Florida residents become better drivers by being better educated.

Monday’s question was, “What is the protocol for a three-vehicle accident? Should the investigating officer speak to all three drivers?”

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Protocol for investigating a crash differs by agency.

“Although I am not talking specifically for any agency when I give my explanation here, I am saying what I would do and what should be done,” Trooper Steve said. “The goal during any crash investigation is to determine how that crash occurred.”

An investigating officer is not necessarily determining fault but what actions contributed to the cause of the crash.

“When investigating a vehicle crash with three or more vehicles, the same thing would occur as if it was a single-vehicle crash,” he said. “Many factors go into determining how a crash has occurred. Evidence at the scene is always a huge portion of that, but speaking to all drivers also plays a large role. Any time that I was investigating a crash, I would speak to all drivers involved if necessary.”

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Trooper Steve said generally speaking it’s a good rule of thumb to speak to all parties involved. 

“Some drivers may feel like their voice is not valued when an officer doesn’t speak to them,” he said. “This should never be the feeling you get if this happens.”

He then provided an example: Vehicles 3 and 2 are stopped at a red light. Vehicle 2 is behind Vehicle 3. Vehicle 1 fails to see Vehicle 2 stopped ahead and subsequently, the front of Vehicle 1 strikes the rear of Vehicle 2. The crash from Vehicle 1 and Vehicle 2 forces the front of Vehicle 2 to collide with the rear of Vehicle 3.

“Although it would be polite, and probably the right thing to do, to speak to the driver of Vehicle 3, there really wouldn’t be any substantial information that driver could provide other than they simply got hit,” Trooper Steve said. “I understand that getting into any type of vehicle collision can be traumatic for most people. But understanding how things could be investigated can ultimately lesson that stress.”

About the Authors:

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on ClickOrlando.com, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.

Steven Montiero, better known as “Trooper Steve," joined the News 6 morning team as its Traffic Safety Expert in October 2017. A Central Florida native and decorated combat veteran, Montiero comes to the station following an eight-year assignment with the Florida Highway Patrol.