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How to stay in control

By The Whisperer

With many years in the coach and bus industry, The Whisperer keeps his ear to the ground for all the latest tit-bits and gossip. Tell him what’s going on in your part of the world: e-mail him via

It’s a fact of operating. You put vehicles on the road and accidents (incidents), however minor, will happen. They may be your driver’s fault, or another driver’s. But either way you need to manage any claims that result - and fast.

Insurance providers confirm that the better your system, the more effective claims management will be.

Put simply: How you deal with the aftermath of an incident will affect your premium.

There is no argument that the quicker you can start the ball rolling, especially with an ‘at-fault’ incident, the better.

The question is how.

Enter Lightstone

“It’s important to get the clear picture as soon as possible,” says Shayne Hubbard, Head of Sales and Business Development at Peterborough-based Lightstone Systems, founded in 1996.

To this end it has launched an incident-reporting app, called Mercury,  - available for use on any mobile device - with a web-based back-end enabling management to see exactly what’s happening, both now and with incidents in the past.

“The key is the speed between having the incident and the driver taking the details, and submitting them to the transport manager (TM).

Shayne Hubbard: ‘It’s important to get the clear picture as soon as possible’

Adds Director Nick Parkinson: “This completely changes how incidents get reported back to the TM, fleet manager and broker.”

And, in a further benefit, the system can also be used to report near misses or incidents, such as an emergency stop, where no injuries are reported at the scene, but there might be subsequent action.

Gathering information

Crucial to incident management is the swift and accurate gathering of information. Using the app, it means that the office-based manager can have the details - with pictures - instantly.

If it’s an at-fault incident, then typically if a claim is turned around in 24 hours, there’s a potential saving of £1,000-£1,500 on the cost of settlement. If the other party’s vehicle is off the road, then rapidly securing a replacement vehicle through your own claims handler is the key to unlocking savings.

The app ensures that the three key elements - speed and accuracy of reporting, plus blame attribution - can be delivered.

The app simply gathers the information, but it has prompts to ensure that nothing is missed, plus a few clever tricks up its sleeve.


The app uses a series of prompts for the driver to fill in the various sections. Additionally, thanks to its GPS it will verify the location, or the driver can input an address. Naturally, it works anywhere in the world.

The registrations of the vehicles involved are automatically checked against the DVLA database as the information is entered, to ensure that the entered information is correct.

This also means that if the vehicle’s registration does not match the information held (such as false plates), the police can be called while the other party is still at the scene.

Like a paper form, the app shows a vehicle outline, where damage can be marked, but with the opportunity to add text or photos, taken by the device.

Third party and witness/passenger details can also be added, along with details of the police officer. Another prompt ensures that the ‘collar number’ and name of the officer are taken.

App guides the user through every step of the process. It can also be customised with your company name

This is often missed on paper systems and with officers’ shift patterns it can take time to track down who attended the scene if these details are not recorded.

Finally, if you have a preferred recovery service, these details will be displayed.

Back office

Once the information is submitted via the app it appears instantly on the web-based dashboard. The operator can choose for instant e-mail and/or text to be sent to specified people in the business to alert them.

There’s also the option for details to be sent straight to your broker.

The system already complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that comes in on 25 May. You also have the option to view the information before submitting it to your broker.

Because it’s web-based, your TM gets an immediate clear picture of what’s happened.

The incident details can be exported as a PDF and the incident can be updated later, such as adding downloaded CCTV. However, you always have the original report too, even if you make any changes.

The information can be transferred into a document vault for secure transfer, rather than sending via e-mail.

If you work closely with your broker, you can provide them with their own login.

Adds Shayne: “The key is that the system prompts the driver so you get all the right details, and your manager gets the right information within minutes. You could be starting the claims process within 30 minutes of the incident happening.”

Pricing follows the modern model of a per vehicle/per month structure, with taper pricing for larger fleets. The pricing, says Nick is “modest, which makes buying it a no-brainer’.”

And finally, Lightstone can also supply 7in tablets as part of the package, if your drivers don’t have, or don’t want to use their own devices. “It’s a robust, straightforward and cost-effective package,” concludes Shayne.

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