Safety Record vs. Record Nuclear Verdict

Safety Record vs. Record Nuclear Verdict

Even if you have a stellar safety record, letting one bad driver in can destroy your company. It’s essential that you check the records of new hires and ensure you take action to correct bad behaviors on the road, or you could see yourself facing a nuclear verdict.

Safety Record vs. Record Nuclear Verdict

Four years ago, a teenager in Jacksonville, FL was killed in an accident involving two commercial vehicles. One truck was overturned, causing a traffic backup. Another driver crashed into the line of traffic, resulting in the death.

Just recently, a jury brought back a verdict on this accident, requiring $1 billion from the companies with drivers involved. This verdict takes over as the new record for a nuclear verdict against a trucking company. The previous record was $411 million.

Distracted Driving, Hours-of-Service, and Other Issues

From beginning to end, this wreck seems to have been caused by bad driving practices. The original driver who overturned his truck was distracted by his cellphone at the time. The other driver was also distracted and didn’t try to brake until right before the crash occurred.

Distracted driving wasn’t the only issues though. Both drivers were over their hours-of-service limits. The second driver was on his 25th hour of a trip from Quebec.

The second driver also couldn’t read English well, meaning he couldn’t read the signs warning about the crash ahead. Plus, the first driver was driving without a valid CDL.

This was clearly an accident that could have been avoided if these drivers had been clear on CSA BASICS. It also could have been avoided if the first driver had received a background check before being hired. These bad behaviors destroyed the safety record of one company, ending with them closing their doors.

What Does the New Record Verdict Mean to You?

This sounds like a worst-case scenario, and many look at this and swear it wouldn’t happen to them. With nuclear verdicts on the rise and jurors wanting to hold trucking companies more responsible for safety on the roads, it’s important for trucking companies to protect themselves.

Large verdicts like this can easily put a trucking company out of business. It’s up to you to address situations before they lead to something like this. Make sure you are following all necessary procedures to protect your company.

  • Run background checks on drivers
  • Verify CDL status of all new hires
  • Make sure drivers can follow directions wherever they are travelling

Take the time to determine your company’s vulnerabilities within your safety record. Where you find recurring issues, take the time to re-train drivers in these areas. Maintain an ongoing training program to keep safety top of mind for everyone.

Make sure new drivers are clear on safety standards for your company before they ever hit the road for you. Make sure drivers understand safety measures that will reduce the potential for accidents.

Does Your Safety Record Stand Up to a Nuclear Verdict?

Bad actors within the trucking industry hurt everyone. There is a pre-conceived idea that trucking companies don’t care about safety. Each time accidents like this happen, it reinforces that idea.

This makes it important for you to evaluate, identify, and correct those areas that put your company at risk for the next nuclear verdict. Regular safety training is one of your strongest protections against this.

With Infinit-I Workforce Solutions, you can provide online safety training so drivers can access the training they need no matter where they are. Contact us today to request a demo and learn how we can help you protect against bad behaviors on the road.