Why Documentation is Key to Risk Mitigation
What are your biggest risks in the trucking business? Apart from road conditions, hazardous freight, and unpredictable passenger vehicles, your biggest risks are financial. How do you make wise choices, mitigate costs, and stay on the black side of your ledger? Discover how the key to risk mitigation is frequent training and documentation.
Why Documentation is Key to Risk Mitigation
Your first financial risks are investments. Whether purchasing trucks, hiring, or counting the costs of daily business maintenance, you have to watch every penny. These risks drive the success of your business. They’re your offensive line.
But then there are two major financial risks that relate to liability: legal costs and insurance. If you don’t put up a good defensive line here, you can quickly be in over your head.
Mitigating legal costs
Around 500,000 trucking accidents happen each year. In 2017, trucking fatalities reached an all-time high, with factors including:
- an increase in distracted driving behavior
- with the growth in e-commerce, an increase in the number of freight vehicles on the road
In 2017, a whopping 450,237 crashes occurred, with 106,237 of those involving fatalities and/or injuries. That means 23.5% — or nearly a quarter — of all trucking accidents in 2017 involved a human cost. You can’t put a price tag on a human cost. What’s lost often can’t be returned. On top of that, legal fees can hit hard, from lawyer fees to compensatory and punitive damages.
344,000 of trucking accidents — over 76% — involved property damage alone. There was no direct human cost, but that’s still damage someone has to pay for either directly, such as replacing or repairing trucks, firing and replacing drivers, or paying remuneration for others’ property through insurance or court settlements.
Lawsuits can quickly jump from tens and hundreds of thousands into the millions when injuries or fatalities are involved.
Lawsuits against truckers and trucking companies will always attempt to demonstrate that drivers are:
- Acting recklessly or negligently
- Insufficiently trained
- Violating a law or regulation
- Not maintaining or loading vehicles properly
Are you truly training your drivers as effectively as you can to avoid these issues? Are you ready to prove it in court?
No matter how much caution you urge or stats you gather, you’ve got to prove you’re doing something to respond and take precautions to keep these accidents from happening. You have to do your due diligence and demonstrate that, without a shadow of a doubt in the eyes of the law.
“If it’s not written down, signed, and dated, it didn’t happen.” This is your motto for conducting yourself legally. Proper documentation is key to keeping your business together because, without it, you are vulnerable to major legal risks.
Infinit-I Workforce Solutions puts a double benefit in your hands. Because training is based online, it allows you to train with great frequency on all issues that can lead to accidents and incidents:
- Distracted driving
- Fatigue and skipping breaks
- Hazardous driving conditions
- Loading, unloading and securing cargo
- Road laws and trucking-specific regulations
Infinit-I Workforce Solutions also automatically documents all offered and completed training modules, so that you have a signed, dated, and watertight record of your efforts to keep safety a top priority.
Hear from Reed Hurt Trucking on how Infinit-I Workforce Solutions helped improve safety.
Mitigating insurance costs
Another cost of accidents and incidents is that it raises the cost of your insurance.
Insurance is already a significant cost for your business. The average cost for insurance per rig annually can land anywhere between $8,000 and $12,000. Minimum required coverage may be more affordable, but it’s often not enough to cover you in a lawsuit. A 2013 study showed that 42% of truck crash settlements paid exceeded the FMCSA’s minimum insurance requirements.
With the costs of insurance only going up, you need practical, efficient ways to mitigate them.
Among others, three of the main factors insurance companies look at are:
- Driver’s record and experience
- Driver’s age
- What’s being hauled
The average age of drivers has been decreasing. That means more new drivers and less experience on the road. Combine this with driver turnover and a total increase of drivers on the road, and you need a system that’s going to keep your training effective and consistent across the board, so no one slips through the cracks and all drivers are growing in their abilities.
Insurance companies will also want to know that you’re training effectively for different kinds of freight:
- Oversize/wide loads
- Live animals
- And more
Infinit-I Workforce Solutions builds orientation and training packages for you that target your drivers’ needs and gives you a catalog of over 700 unique training videos to choose from. Then we put the documentation in your hands. No scrambling for paperwork. No hoping and praying you got all the right signatures and timestamps.
Read how online DOT training helped Blitz Express with audits, depositions, and driver onboarding.
A fringe benefit of documentation may be that you can also mitigate the risk of losing drivers.
Methodical documentation protects your drivers. High frequency of effective training shows you care about the safety of your drivers and the quality of their driving. Having a clean, easy-to-use system that doesn’t frustrate drivers or put them at risk shows a high level of intentionality and professionalism that can appeal to current drivers and new drivers entering the industry.
Online training sets the table for driver success. Seatbelt usage, for example, may seem like a simple training item, but 40% of truck occupants killed in crashes in 2017 were not wearing seatbelts. Online micro-learning, rather than long and infrequent training days, can make a big difference to your drivers when used strategically.
Try a demo of Infinit-I Workforce Solutions, or learn more about further enhancing your company’s safety culture at our free Safety Boot Camp.