Leading safety management system that brings current industry news that your company to use to stay updated & informed in todays fast pace world.

A Threat to Accident Prevention

A Threat to Accident Prevention

While your company looks for methods of accident prevention for your drivers, some less honest people look to take advantage of trucking companies for a big payout. These scammers like to stage accidents in the hopes of settling or getting large sums during a lawsuit.

This threat means safety managers need to have more diligence when it comes to accident prevention methods. Safety for your drivers and your company when it comes to scammers requires diligence. You need to understand the threats they will face so you can put a plan in place.

The Case that Started an Investigation

While staged accidents aren’t anything new, a case from 2017 has come back into focus as one woman involved in a conspiracy to commit fraud recently pled guilty. This makes her the 28th person convicted in an ongoing federal investigation into a ring of scammers in New Orleans.

Aisha Thompson and five co-conspirators staged an accident in New Orleans September 2017. Ms. Thompson, who was not at the scene when the staged accident occurred, joined family members and friends in filing a false police report.

The false report claimed a different driver than who originally sideswiped a truck owned by Averitt Express. It also claimed Thompson was in the vehicle during the accident. Along with the false report, Thompson made claims she had suffered a back injury during the crash.

Thompson, her co-conspirators, and her attorney shared a $30,000 settlement from Averitt’s insurance company. In March of 2020, she finally admitted to the FBI that she was not in the vehicle and that they had staged the accident.

Staged Accidents and Insurance Fraud

Federal investigators estimate one hundred accidents were staged in the New Orleans area, with attorneys and medical personnel participating in the scam. To date, 40 defendants have been charged, including one attorney who represented 77 plaintiffs in falsified court claims related to 31 staged accidents.

The attorney, Danny Keating, paid conspirators to set up the accidents, then split the insurance payouts with those involved. Indictments have referenced three attorneys as part of the staged accidents.

Another of the cases in New Orleans involved two vehicles targeting a Triple G Express truck. The truck’s dash cam proved the incident was a scam and the passengers were forced to withdraw their claim once the video showed them intentionally colliding with the truck.

These staged accidents are a threat to accident prevention as it is difficult for drivers to prepare for an intentional crash. These scams often involve entire teams, including medical and legal personnel working with fake victims and fake witnesses to defraud trucking companies and insurance companies.

 

 Types of Staged Accidents

Many believe these staged accidents are a consequence of increased verdicts awarding $1 million or more in lawsuits. These larger payouts have increased 1,054% since 2011. The success of plaintiff attorneys in winning huge verdicts has put a bullseye on trucking companies for staged accident scammers.

These cases share similarities. There will be multiple people in the vehicle, and often staged witnesses. Allegations of a crash with the commercial vehicle with minimal damage to the claimant’s vehicle and little to no damage to the truck.

There are a couple of methods scammers use to stage an accident:

  • T-Bone Scam: The scammer waits for a commercial vehicle to move through an intersection, then accelerates to make impact with the truck. They usually work with accomplices who act as witnesses to claim the truck ran a traffic light or stop sign.
  • Sideswipe Scam: The scammer will wait until the truck driver is switching lanes, then accelerates to collide with the truck. They may also drive into the truck’s lane to sideswipe the vehicle, then blame the accident on the driver.
  • Swoop and Stop Scam: This involves scammers in multiple vehicles. One vehicle will suddenly pull in front of the truck and stop, while other vehicles box the truck in to prevent the driver from moving to avoid the accident.

The last is less common as the potential for serious injury is greater with this method. The threat of staged accidents means drivers need to be even more vigilant on the road though.

How do You Protect Your Drivers and Your Company?

Most trucking companies have started using dash cams in all their vehicles to help reduce the chance of fraudulent claims. These cameras show what happens leading up to the accident so drivers can show intent on the part of a scammer.

The driver should also take pictures immediately at the scene of an accident. Thorough training on what to do at the scene is also helpful to reduce fraudulent claims. Making this training part of your safety management program can prepare drivers on what to look for and what information to record.

A good safety training solution will also help drivers be more vigilant, so they reduce the threat of a staged accident. Arm your drivers with accident prevention knowledge with Infinit-I Workforce Solutions. Request a demo to find out more about the training solutions that can help you protect your drivers and your company.

Trucking Industry Best Practices

Trucking Industry Best Practices for the New Year

As we move into the new year, it’s a good time to look forward to what can be done to improve the trucking industry. Between driver shortages and increased crash rates, things can begin to look dire.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve driver safety awareness and retain quality drivers. Many of your options have to do with automating processes and embracing technologies that can help you monitor driver behaviors.

Making improvements for the new year also relies on improving your company communication. With changes to improve safety and efficiency you can also create a better atmosphere to encourage new drivers to come into the industry.

Focus on Safety

One of the biggest issues for the trucking industry is maintaining safety. With truck-related injury crashes increasing 115% and fatal crashes increasing 43%, the need to improve driver safety consciousness is evident.

This is more evident when you see that 15% of all police-reported commercial vehicle crashes were the result of distracted driving. This, coupled with a 967% increase in average verdict sizes during litigation shows just how important safety is to the success of trucking companies.

So, how can trucking companies develop safety consciousness? There are several ways to make this a priority moving into the new year.

Use CSA Data to Analyze Problem Areas

The FMCSA maintains CSA scores for all commercial vehicle companies that are available to the public. These CSA scores are a good place to start when determining where your focus should be.

Take time to analyze your scores. Look for trends in problem behaviors so you can provide corrective training on these issues. Common problem areas are speeding, distracted driving, and work zone issues.

Corrective training doesn’t have to focus on the negative only though. You can also highlight drivers who have a good safety record. This will encourage them to continue with good behaviors and incentivize other drivers to meet those same standards.

Make Use of Safety Technologies

There are several options available to help the trucking industry improve safety on the roads. Regulations require ELDs in all trucks, but many companies are also using cameras in their vehicles. These cameras help monitor driver behavior on the road and can come in handy when it comes to lawsuits.

Cameras have helped companies in situations such as staged accidents in the past and can help prove if you know a driver isn’t at fault for an incident. You can also use both bad and good behaviors to help develop safety training programs.

Beyond cameras, trucking companies can take advantage of driver alert systems, collision warning systems, and rearview cameras. These technologies help drivers better monitor their surroundings to reduce the risk of accidents. Even better, many of these technologies can help you negotiate better insurance rates.

Utilize Online Safety Management Options

Safety training is important for the trucking industry, but it can take up a lot of time, and disrupt schedules. In-house training can also get expensive when you consider the cost of travel, housing, and feeding those involved. That’s why many organizations are moving to online training platforms.

With a platform like Infinit-I Workforce Solutions, you can set up training ahead of time and let the system take care of the rest. Drivers can access training from any device with an internet connection, so they don’t have to take more time out of already busy schedules.

Online training options also help you keep up with training documentation, so you have records of all training completed by your company. This makes it easier to keep everyone on the same page and reduces the stress of maintaining safety training.

Make Use of Parking Services

One area often overlooked when it comes to driver safety is parking. 75% of drivers report difficulties finding safe parking. This leaves drivers with very few options other than driving around to look for a space or parking on the side of the road.

Many companies avoid parking services because they don’t want to pay extra for this. The problem is, between fines for illegal parking or going over hours-of-service, or the price of fuel while drivers search for a space, the cost of a parking service is less.

Using a parking service will keep both the drivers and the cargo safe. The trucking industry has seen a 56% increase in cargo thefts yearly, much of this is due to lack of safe parking for drivers. Ensuring safe parking for your drivers just makes sense.

Prepare Drivers for Potential Staged Accidents

The issue of staged accidents is back in the news as more charges have come down from a case in New Orleans from 2017. Many organizations have been focusing on this issue though, as the occurrence of staged accidents has increased over the years.

Drivers need to be aware of the potential and need to know what to watch out for to reduce the risk. Drivers also need to be prepared for what to do after an accident in case they do fall victim to this tactic.

Make sure drivers are properly trained on what evidence they should gather at the scene of an accident to help protect them and your company during litigation. Also, make sure they know what they should and should not say or do at the scene.

Keeping Up with Industry News and Changes

Laws and regulations for the trucking industry can change rapidly in our world. It’s important to keep up with these changes to ensure that your company remains in compliance. This is even more important when dealing with interstate hauling as you will need to make sure drivers are prepared to follow state and local laws.

You also need to make sure you and your drivers are aware of any alerts coming out of the areas they will travel to. Keep up with weather conditions and possible natural disaster conditions so they are prepared for what to expect.

Maintaining Documentation and Communication

With nuclear verdicts on the rise in the trucking industry, it’s more important than ever to maintain documentation. This includes maintenance records as plaintiff lawyers are now going after mechanics during lawsuits.

Online training and communication management systems can help you keep all your documentation together in one place. You can even provide tablets to your drivers, so they have access to any policies or other documents they are required to have with them when driving.

Prepare for FMCSA Changes

Last year, the FMCSA made changes to the regulations regarding the Alcohol & Drug Clearinghouse which had a detrimental effect on the trucking industry driver shortage. Coming up in 2022, the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) requirements are changing.

Trucking companies need to prepare themselves for what changes like these can mean to them and their drivers. Get in early on implementing necessary changes so you can avoid as much trouble and stress as possible.

Infrastructure Bill Bringing Changes

Congress has passed an infrastructure bill that will bring several changes to the trucking industry. The bill puts emphasis on alternative fuel options such as electric vehicles. They even provided funding to set up infrastructure for meeting these needs.

This is an opportunity for trucking companies to look for options that could reduce fuel costs. Many companies have already started looking at these alternative fuel options, but these changes could make that option more economical for you.

Another change came with the apprenticeship program that was passed with the bill. This allows companies to hire drivers under 21 to participate in an apprenticeship. The passing of this program could have a positive impact on recruiting and training younger drivers.

Pay Attention to Relationships within Your Company

The recent emphasis on the driver shortage in the news has shown how important it is to show drivers they are valued. This recognition can come in many forms, pay, communication, and benefits.

Moving forward, it’s important for the trucking industry to pay attention to the relationships and needs within their organization. Encourage positive communication company-wide, but especially between drivers and dispatchers.

Incentive Programs

One way many trucking companies are showing driver recognition is through incentive programs. This is also a way of nurturing a culture of safety companywide. Using a monthly or quarterly driver scorecard, you can provide safety performance bonuses for those drivers who do well for the chosen period.

You can also implement incentive programs for drivers who remain with your company for a given amount of time. These incentives will help drivers feel valued and could help you increase driver retention.

Make the New Year Your Best Year

Safety, communication, and recruiting are the major focus areas moving into the new year for the trucking industry. There are many options available to help make these processes easier.

One such option is Infinit-I Workforce Solutions. Our online training platform allows you to streamline safety training and communication so you can nurture your company’s safety culture. With access to more than 800 videos, you can find the most relevant training to meet your orientation, ongoing, and corrective training needs.

Would you like to see for yourself how the Infinit-I system works? Schedule a demo to get started with the best safety practices in the new year.

The Ultimate Guide to Disputing Negative Dataqs 2022

How to Successfully Complete a DataQ Appeal

The idea of wading through the FMCSA DataQ system to correct your safety records may sound daunting, but with a little guidance and knowledge it’s not as complicated as it seems. You just need to understand how the system works. More importantly, you need to understand how the system can work for you.

Christopher Turner, Director of Enforcement Data and Judicial Outreach for CVSA provided a very informative walk-through on how to monitor and change safety data to help carriers protect themselves from incorrect information.

Your safety record is an important aspect of your company reputation. Parts of this record can be accessed by potential clients, insurance companies, competitors, potential employees, and the public. It’s vital to your success to keep the record straight. Understanding what the DataQ system is and how to navigate it will help do just that.

Understanding the DataQ System

The FMCSA provides the DataQ system to maintain safety data provided by agencies and carriers. The system allows carriers, drivers, or federal and state agencies to file changes and concerns on the safety data provided.

The DOT uses the data in the system to evaluate current programs and develop new federal transportation policies. While the system was created to support safety enforcement programs, it gives trucking companies and their drivers a good picture of the current state of the industry.

The data collected can also affect CSA scores, so it’s important to make sure everything is accurate. For instance, if an incident is incorrectly assigned to your company or a duplicate record is assigned, this can damage your scores. You can correct this incorrect information with a request for data review.

Supporting Your Request for Data Review

As you go through the request, you will want to make sure you are as accurate as possible with the information you provide. Double check report numbers and the state. Make sure you have the right dates and times.

Discrepancies in the basic report information can delay your request. Being unclear in your description of the event for review can also cause delays. Make sure you are concise and stick to the facts. Confusion could result in an unsuccessful request.

You will also be able to attach supplemental information. This can include pictures, accident reports, or witness statements that are relevant to your request. If you have supplemental records that can provide compelling evidence, make use of it.

Keep in mind that the person reviewing your request may ask for further information to help them make a decision. Make sure all relevant documentation is available to send. You only get one opportunity to appeal a decision, so you need to make everything count.

Preparing for Disputes

In 2021 so far there have been over 69,000 crashes involving large trucks and buses. In those crashes there were 1,800+ fatalities and more than 32,000 injuries. With so many accidents, it’s not surprising that reports could get mixed up. That’s why it is so important to check your safety reports.

The first step in preparing for a disputed DataQ is at the scene of the incident. You want to make sure drivers are fully prepared for what to do and say at the scene. Your driver needs to collect as much data as possible in case you need to complete a request for data review.

You need to be clear on the type of info you want to make changes on. Is it a crash, an inspection, registration, etc.? This includes the reason for the changes, such as an incorrect violation or a report assigned to the wrong carrier.

Have all relevant information available to help complete the request. Report specifics such as number and codes will help your request process smoothly. Keep in mind that the original officer may be consulted, so make sure all information is correct.

Improving Your Safety Data

Requests for data review are useful to help improve your safety data. You can dispute inspection related data up to 3 years from the inspection date, and crash data up to 5 years. With a good understanding of how to navigate the DataQ system works, your chances of correcting the record are high.

You can also improve your safety data with proper training. A good orientation process, recurring training, and follow-up after incidents shows your company’s dedication to keeping the roads safe. This training should include what to do at the scene of an accident or inspection.

Combining training with policies your drivers can understand and follow reduces your chances of nuclear verdicts in case of a claim. This will help towards improving your safety data. The less claims you have against your company, the better your chances of correcting records.

Keeping drivers up to date on changes in regulations will help them maintain needed documentation and procedures. Provide checklists where necessary to ensure proper maintenance and inspection procedures. Taking the time to check on the safety of the vehicle before hitting the road will reduce incidents.

Protect Your Reputation

The tools available to help you monitor and improve your safety data help protect your company’s reputation. High CSA scores can scare clients and insurance companies away. Protecting your reputation starts with proper training though.

You want training solutions that provide simple assigning, tracking, and reporting tools so you can ensure drivers are ready to meet regulations and reduce on-the-road incidents. Infinit-I Workforce Solutions provides the tools you need with easy access for your drivers.

Reduce accidents, save money, and increase productivity with our trusted training management solutions. Request a free demo to learn how Infinit-I Workforce can work for you.

Reduce trucking accidents by at least 18%

INFRASTRUCTURE BILL: GOOD NEWS FOR DRIVER RECRUITMENT

Good News for Driver Recruitment

After months of stalling from the U.S. House of Representatives, a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill barely passed on November 6, 2021. This bill could help with driver recruitment along with providing funds for infrastructure.

The infrastructure bill deals with several issues, but most importantly to the transportation industry, this bill provides $110 billion for roads, highways, and bridges. There is also money set aside for public transit and infrastructure for electric vehicles. This includes grant programs to encourage investment in alternative fuels.

This bill included a program that many in the trucking industry hope will help with the current driver shortage. An apprenticeship program was approved for commercial drivers under 21 to train in interstate hauling.

Recruiting Younger Drivers

Many are excited by this apprenticeship program that trucking associations, including American Trucking Association (ATA), have been pushing for. As current drivers are aging and retiring, the trucking industry needs a way to reach younger drivers.

Previous laws made it difficult to recruit younger drivers because they could not get their CDL until after they turned 21. By that time potential drivers have already entered other industries. With this apprenticeship program, younger drivers can enter the trucking industry more immediately.

Training Younger Drivers

The apprenticeship program would require trucking companies to require probationary hours for under 21 drivers and have them ride with an experienced driver when completing interstate hauls.

During this probationary time, the company is required to ensure proper training in all safety and equipment handling. Training hours will include classroom and driving time and requires more training that traditional CDL training.

As trucking companies look to participate in this apprenticeship program, they may want to consider providing CDL and ELDT training as part of their recruitment process. Using materials such as Infinit-I Workforce Solution’s FMCSA registered ELDT training can help companies take fuller advantage of the apprenticeship program as a driver recruitment tool.

As this is a new program, it will take some time to see how this will affect the trucking industry. It will be important moving forward to pay attention to all regulations and rulings that occur. Training will be important throughout the process though.

Developing a Safety Conscious Workforce

This apprenticeship is meant to ensure younger drivers learn to be safe drivers. If you plan to take advantage of this program, it is also a good time to make sure all your drivers are more safety conscious.

Whether it is orientation, ongoing training, or corrective action training, Infinit-I Workforce Solutions has an easy-to-use online training platform that will help you nurture a safety culture for your company.

Want to see how Infinit-I can help you make safety part of your driver recruitment process? Request a free demo of the platform to get started.

Truck Safety Sensors Risk Management

Truck Safety Sensors Risk Management

Thanks to nuclear verdicts, risk management is already tricky for the trucking industry, but plaintiff attorneys continue to find ways to increase your risk. You already know the importance of keeping up with CSA records and company documentation to reduce litigation risk.

What you may not know is the new target for plaintiff attorneys to justify litigation. Lawsuits are now targeting some of the safety measures you have put in place. Namely, safety sensors in your vehicles.

Nuclear Verdicts and Safety Sensor Calibration

Most trucking companies are relying on safety sensors to help manage driver safety and protect against litigation. Plaintiff attorneys are looking into the calibration of these sensors during discovery. Now, if you’re not careful, these sensors could be your downfall during litigation.

The new target during litigation is technicians. If any safety sensors are out of calibration during an accident, plaintiff attorneys will now drag the technicians that worked on the vehicle into the lawsuit. This adds to an already stressful situation.

Nuclear verdicts cause significant loss in the trucking industry. Now the very tools used to reduce this threat are being turned against the trucking companies. This means further vigilance and training are necessary for your company’s risk management program.

Protecting Against Litigation

Miscalibration can happen for many reasons. Daily use and environmental factors such as temperature change or vibrations can cause calibration issues. Replacing parts and accidents also affect the calibration of sensors.

This makes it essential to check the calibration of all sensors regularly. Technicians need to pay close attention after any repairs or replacements on vehicles. All records of repairs and recalibration processes should be updated and easily accessed in case of a lawsuit.

Maintaining this documentation is essential to protect your shop. Every time vehicles are worked on, technicians need to complete documentation to show that all safety sensors were working properly when the vehicle left.

Proper training is also vital to reduce your risk. Make sure technicians are prepared to check after all work done on the vehicles. Also, make sure they have thorough knowledge of the recalibration process. Keep up with this training along with other documentation to keep your company safe.

Manage Risk

In the trucking industry, risk management and safety management go hand-in-hand. You must remain vigilant to plug any holes in your safety training to protect your company against litigation. It would be best if you also remained vigilant with all documentation.

You need safety management solutions in place that will help you stay on track without disrupting the workflow. Infinit-I Workflow Solutions can help you keep your company safe and reduce risk from over-zealous lawyers.

Request a free demo today. Let Infinit-I be your partner in protecting your company and your workers.

CELEBRATING TRUCKING SAFETY WINNER 2021

Trucking Safety for the Win

Trucking safety is an important part of running a company. Maintaining good training and records protects everyone from the owner to the drivers. Good safety programs also protect everyone on the road with your trucks.

It’s that time of year when the trucking industry highlights the companies with the best safety records. National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) is just such an organization, and their winners have unofficially been announced.

Trucking Industry Safety Awards

National Tank Truck Carriers will have their annual Tank Truck Week October 10-13, 2021, in Dallas. During the event they will announce the winners of the North American Safety Awards.

This is an opportunity to celebrate those safety supervisors who excel at trucking safety programs and records. Winners are chosen based on safety training and records for employees and companywide. Participation in industry and highway safety causes also plays a role in choosing winners.

Celebrating a Winner in Safety

Among those who will receive an award, we want to congratulate George Gerth of Grammer Logistics.

George is the Senior Vice President of Risk, Talent, and Safety. He will receive the NTTC safety professional grand award for the 31.5-to-40-million-mile category.

NTTC members compete for Grand, Honor, and Merit level awards for their mileage class. Grand award winners move on to compete for the Heil Trophy in two mileage classes.

Partners in Safety Culture

It is an honor to partner with companies like this that strive for trucking safety. We provide safety training and record-keeping solutions that help promote good practices for all employees. You can even customize content to make it specific to your company.

Let Infinit-I Workforce be your partner in creating a culture of safety. Request a free demo of the safety solutions we offer. When your drivers are safe, everyone wins.

Celebrating Fleet Safety: Winners of Fleet Safety Awards

Celebrating Fleet Safety

The trucking industry has made strides towards fleet safety over the years. Companies have increased safety training and improved record-keeping. These efforts are gaining recognition at several conferences.

Thanks to this recognition, companies had the opportunity to celebrate keeping their drivers safe this year. Fleet Safety Awards were presented to highlight companies with the fewest accidents based on miles driven. We would like to join in celebrating the winners.

Tennessee Winners

At the Tennessee Trucking Association (TTA) Annual Conference for 2021, winners were announced for safety awards. Among the winners, we would like to congratulate some that stand out.

First up are the Grand Champions for Small Carriers and Large Carriers. Both champions deserve to celebrate:

  • Southern Champion Tray won the Small Carrier division as a Private Carrier. They had 0 to 1,000,000 miles. This company has won three years in a row!
  • M&W Transportation Company won Large Carrier division as a Truckload. They had 3,000,001 to 7,000,000 miles.

You guys [Infinit-I Workforce Solutions] play a key role in our safety efforts, so you should take pride in that as well. – Mike McFarlin, President and CEO of M&W Transportation

There were some notable first place winners for their categories:

  • Specialty Transport won for Truckload. They had 0 to 3,000,000 miles.
  • Titan Transfer won for Truckload. They had 7,000,001 miles or over.

Among all the awards received at TTA, other winners should get recognition:

  • Quickway Carriers (Paladin Group) won 2nd place for Truckload. They had 0 to 3,000,000 miles.
  • Danny Herman Trucking won 2nd place for Truckload. They had 3,000,001 to 7,000,000 miles.
  • Brown Trucking won 3rd place for Truckload. They had 3,000,001 to 7,000,000 miles.
  • Ozark Motor Lines won 3rd place for Truckload. They had 7,000,001 miles or over.

Congratulations to these and other winners who help maintain travel safety. With the help of safety management solutions and the diligence of the trucking companies, everyone can work together to reduce accidents.

Congratulations to the Winners of Fleet Safety Awards

Indiana Winners

The Indiana Motor Truck Association (IMTA) also announced fleet safety awards for the year. Congratulations to the winners. There are winners in several categories including:

  • Williams Dedicated won Grand Champion for Over the Road. They had 500,001 to 1,000,000 miles.
  • Transmark Logistics won 1st place for Local Fleet. They had 500,001 to 1,000,000 miles.

Other clients won first place for their mileage categories:

  • LNL Trucking won for Over the Road. They had 250,001 to 500,000 miles.
  • Online Transport won for Over the Road. They had 5,000,001 to 10,000,000 miles.
  • Carter Express won for Over the Road. They had 10,000,001 to 15,000,000 miles.
  • Venture Transport won for Over the Road. They had 20,000,001 to 25,000,000 miles.

Thank you to all the companies who work towards improved safety.

Working Together for Safety

As these winners show us, fleet safety is important to the trucking industry and industry partners. We all must work together to keep accidents down. Infinit-I Workforce Solutions is proud to be one of the partners in this effort.

The winners above are valued Infinit-I Workforce clients. They trust us to provide solutions that make safety training hassle free.

How can we help keep your drivers safe? Request a demo and discover how to become a winner in safety management.

3 Major Mistakes Cost Millions in Nuclear Verdicts Preventable Accidents

Preventable Accidents

Connor Dzion was a blooming honor student in his freshman year of college. The 18-year-old was beginning the adult phase of his life when he was killed in a preventable accident. Connor was in his first two weeks of college when his life was taken by two drivers who should not have been on the road.  

On September 4th, 2017, Connor found himself in standstill traffic on I-95 in Florida. He was returning home from visiting his girlfriend. Up ahead, an ADJ Business Services tractor-trailer lay across the highway in a burning wreckage.  

As Connor waited for the cars ahead to move, a fully-loaded semi of Kahkashan Carriers plowed into his vehicle at nearly 70 miles per hour. He was killed, and 13 more were injured.  

Crash Details 

Both AJD Business Services and Kahkashan Carrier, along with their drivers, were at fault for the preventable accident. A jury awarded nearly one billion dollars in damages against the trucking companies for their negligent practices.  

The AJD driver was tired, over hours, and did not have a commercial driver’s license. He was given a job without proper vetting, verification, or background check. The driver also had poor performance history with multiple violations for aggressive driving and speeding.  

Due to his inability to safely operate, he crashed into an RV that had slowed with traffic flow. His trailer flipped and caught on fire. He later told emergency responders that he had been distracted by his phone and was not looking at the road.  

The Kahkashan driver who killed Connor was not qualified to drive commercially either. There was no background check or verification to qualify for his employment. If there had been, Kahkashan Carriers would have realized that Mr. Sangha could not read English. This is an immediate disqualification, according to the DOT and FMCSA.  

He did not understand Hours of Service regulations either, as he was on his 25th hour of operation at the time of the preventable accident. Rear-ending a vehicle can be a career-ender for a truck driver, even if it doesn’t cost a preventable accident or someone’s life.  

Distracted Driving 

Two truck drivers, one cell phone, one dead teenager, and 13 others were injured.  

Cell phones and distracted driving are a major concern in the trucking industry. The FMCSA states truck who text while driving is 23 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event than those who do not. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of truck preventable accident fatalities. This preventable accident is a prime example of why truckers should never use hand-held devices while operating.  

What happens if a driver is caught using a hand-held phone or texting while driving? 

The rule imposes sanctions for driver offenses, including civil penalties up to $2,750 and driver disqualification for multiple offenses. Motor carriers are also prohibited from requiring or allowing their drivers to text or use a hand-held mobile phone while driving and may be subject to civil penalties up to $11,000. Violations will impact SMS results. Texting and calling on a hand-held phone carry the maximum violation severity weighting in SMS! [from FMCSA website]  

Disregard for Hours of Service 

When a truck driver begins their shift, they have 14 hours to complete all tasks for that shift. In those 14 hours, they can actively drive a maximum of 11 hours. The rest of the 14 hours is used for fueling, inspections, paperwork, etc. The driver who caused the second preventable accident was on his 25th hour of operation with no break in a complete disregard for federal regulations. 

There is absolutely no excuse for a truck driver to drive for 25 hours continuously. No reputable carrier, shipper, or receiver would advocate for such actions. 

According to the FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 13% of truck crashes were caused by fatigued drivers.  

Research shows that simply being awake for 18 hours can have the same effect as a blood-alcohol level of .08, the legal driving limit for commuter drivers. The symptoms of fatigued driving are inability to focus, impaired decision-making skills, and delayed response time.  

Disqualified Driver 

AJD Trucking knowingly allowed a driver to operate without a proper CDL and failed to complete a background check, as reported by the Florida Times-Union. The qualification process was not complete in the hiring of these incompetent drivers. The reason for the entire recruiting process is to protect the company itself and the motoring public.   

Mr. Sangha, the Kahkashan Carrier operator, should have been disqualified from driving in the recruiting process. Mr. Sangha did not qualify to be a truck driver because he was not able to read English. The DOT and FMCSA require all truck drivers to be able to read and understand English. He cruised past several flashing signs on the Florida highway warning of a crash ahead. If he had understood these warnings, he would have been aware of the crash ahead. This simple piece of information could have saved Connor’s life.  

The Nuclear Verdict 

After only 4 hours of deliberation, a Florida jury awarded the Connors family over $100 million for pain and suffering. AJD Services would pay another $900 million in punitive damages. 

“This is a message to all those bad trucking companies: Play by the rules the good trucking companies play by. Whether or not they will remain in business is another story.” – Plaintiff Attorney, Curry Pajcic 

In recent years, the average verdict amount in the trucking industry has increased 52% annually. The continual upward trend predicts this will be an ongoing challenge. Infinit-I offers several resources to help your company avoid nuclear verdicts and preventable accidents.  

Click the following link to download your free copy of our Avoiding Nuclear Verdicts for Preventable Accidents eBook!  

Pandemic’s Impact on FEMA Relief After Hurricane Ida 

Pandemic’s Impact on FEMA Relief After Hurricane Ida

Hurricanes are something that many Southerners fear. Hurricane’s perils are not only about torrential rain and frightening winds, but about being at home without power for weeks at a time. The trucking industry plays a significant role in disaster relief due to our experience with past storms and we have been much more prepared with Hurricane Ida.

Every year, carriers jump at the chance to haul FEMA loads for two reasons:  

  1. To be a part of the solution and help those in need.  
  2. FEMA loads are cash cows, sometimes paying up to $5 per mile and $2,000 per day detention.  

The question remains: Will Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have its pick of freight haulers this year? 

There is some uncertainty surrounding the capacity and willingness to accept FEMA loads this year. The truck driver shortage has allowed carriers to increase rates and shippers have no choice but to comply. In previous years, carriers easily reassigned drivers to government loads. Now that standard rates are competitive; they may be less willing to abandon their commitments to shippers.  

“Catastrophic risks are the primary drivers of the Nation’s response and recovery capability requirements because these risks will stress local, state, tribal, territorial, supply, and national resources.” 

What Truckers Should Expect 

Expect to run hard.  

In the past, FEMA loads have been of the “drop everything” sort. If your carrier is chosen and accepts these relief loads, you may find your plans changing by the minute. Keep communication lines open at all times and be prepared to reroute at a moment’s notice. You can stay up to date with FEMA alerts and updates.

Expect to sit. 

You will be faced with delays and under-communication. FEMA deliveries are not like other deliveries. Yes, they pay well, and you are helping those highly in need. When you deliver, you may find yourself in a line of hundreds or thousands of other tractors waiting to be offloaded. Be patient and remember those who’ve lost their houses, possessions, or loved ones to the storm. They need food, they need water, and they need smiling faces of the truckers who bring it to them.  

Bring your own food. 

If you’ve never hauled FEMA loads before, it may be difficult to imagine the confusion and lack of communication that exists when delivering emergency supplies. When you arrive, you do not get offloaded for several days. Before getting to the relief site, make sure to load up on food, snacks, and water. You won’t be able to get out of line to get food.  

Be patient.  

Be patient and remember those who’ve lost their houses, possessions, or loved ones to the storm. They need food, they need water, and they need smiling faces of the truckers who bring it to them. 

Stay safe. 

Check all highways, traffic alerts, and flood zones in the areas where you are and where you are going. The routes given by your GPS may be underwater. Always have an alternate route in mind and stay in communication with your dispatcher at all times. 

Sign up for our 30-day Complimentary Trial to be better prepared for inclement weather such as storms like Hurricane Ida.

Feel free to check out our other related Hurricane Ida content.

WHAT DO TRUCKERS BRING TO THE TABLE? THANK A TRUCKER

What Do Truckers Bring to the Table?   Everything.  

Stop for just a moment and look all around you. What do you see? Truckers that need some love so please thank a trucker today!

Maybe you are sitting at your desk. You see your computer, mouse, a framed family picture, and steaming hot coffee.  

Or maybe, you’re at home, on the couch, browsing this article during a commercial break. You could be sitting in the break room surrounded by tables and chairs and vending machines. Or maybe you’re in a restaurant and have just been served a hot meal.  

Chances are, everything that surrounds you was transported on a big rig; every item in your refrigerator, every piece of clothing, every toy in your kid’s bedroom, the gas in your car (and your car itself). Did you take your medicine this morning? Yep, that was moved by a trucker too so please thank a trucker today. Over 70% of the nation’s goods are hauled on a tractor-trailer.  

Truckers Rise to the Occasion 

The average truck driver travels over 350 miles a day, which is roughly the width of Colorado. They spend weeks at a time away from their family to make sure you have everything you need.  

This has been a particularly rough year and a half for most drivers. We’ve all made accommodations and lifestyle changes since March of 2020. None of us, however, have sacrificed as much as truckers so please thank a trucker.  

We’ve read stories of drivers being denied food, showers, and facilities because of the pandemic. Imagine visiting a restaurant near your work only to be turned away because you were driving the wrong kind of vehicle. Or your office building completely shutting down the restrooms for social distancing purposes.  

We asked them to work longer hours and take fewer breaks. We asked them to deliver vaccinations as soon as they were released from the facility. We asked them to hurry up because we need toilet paper and masks and hand sanitizer! And through it all, we relied on them even more. 

And they did.  

More Trucker Struggles 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the trucking industry has experienced more changes than ever. More regulations, more demand, more criticism would make the average job leave the game altogether.  

Perhaps it’s the love of the open road that keeps them going. Or maybe their sense of duty to keep America on her feet. Either way, these truckers know they have a job to do, and they do it well.  

If you are thinking, “Eh, can’t be that hard to drive a truck,” think again. Trucking is much more than a point A to B gig. Read more about the struggles of truck drivers here: Parking nightmares and personal safetythreat of legal actiondangerous highways, and more.   

Truck Drivers Go Above and Beyond 

Some years ago, a mid-size trucking company in Southern Arkansas ran close to 1,000 reefer trucks. The facility conducted two orientations a week and had an 8-bay shop, so there were around 50-100 truck drivers on the facility every week.  

The exception was during driver appreciation week when close to 200 drivers a day might easily be on campus to join in festivities. During that week in 2018, the local schools were asking for additional supply donations after the start of the year.  

Between the cookouts, volleyball games, and tug-of-war in honor of driver appreciation, the company also ran a drive for school supplies. Since so many drivers in the yard, word traveled quickly that the local kids needed some help. 

The drivers jumped into action, gathered around a picnic table, and devised a plan! The group of five or so drivers recruited others to join them in their mission. 

By the time they were ready to leave, a group of 20 truckers had joined the cause. Others had donated cash on hand to help out. They requested a ride from the two available passenger vans and headed to the supercenter in town. 

When they returned, the drivers piled out of the van with arms full of pencils, paper, notebooks, markers, crayons, and even a few backpacks. They bought hundreds, if not thousands, of school supplies to donate to the little ones in town.  

They delivered their goods to the terminal lobby, grinning ear to ear and high-fiving each other for a job well done. You see, that’s the thing about truckers: they are selfless. They have to be. Sacrifice is the very nature of the job, whether it be time with their family, weekends, or a regular sleep schedule. And through it all, they always find time to give back.  

Thank A Trucker 

Thank A TruckerHopefully, this article has given you some insight into the life of truck drivers. The best way to thank a trucker is to say thank you. We live in a world of easily accessible goods like food, gas, and household items because, in part, truckers deliver. You probably contact a truck driver weekly, whether at a gas station, grocery store, or fast-food joint.

Next time you see someone climbing out of a tractor-trailer, give them a fist bump and a grin and thanks. You might be surprised to see how little effort it takes to make someone’s day. 

If you know someone who drives a big rig, give them a shout-out. A simple message of “Thanks for all you do” can go a long way. We would like to express our gratitude with the following video in honor of truck driver appreciation week.

Share it to your social, send it in an email, or take a look. These last couple of years has shaken us all, but we will never forget the dedication of the American trucker.  

Here is a great post with Chuck Norris urging you to Thank a trucker

Another great page dedicated to truck drivers that need us to Thank a trucker today!