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During the Coronavirus outbreak, we’ve been asking experts for advice on how to adapt to an evolving trucking industry. Our peer group has come up with some great ideas on how to keep rolling during a national pandemic.

What was their ultimate goal? Business as usual.

We have seen businesses face new challenges, like how to comply with social distancing regulations without a loss in productivity. Or how to continue on-boarding new drivers while limiting face-to-face interactions. This new state of trucking requires creative solutions.

Pat Landreth is the Vice President of Human Resources and Safety at Ozark Motor Lines. His company has put a big emphasis on efficiency during the crisis. They have ensured their employees that they will never shut down, only find ways to improvise. One of the tools they are using is Infinit-I Workforce Solution’s learning management system. The technology allows them to deliver remote training and communication.

Pat sat down with Jay Wommack, CEO of Infinit-I Workforce Solutions, to discuss Ozark’s transition to remote online orientation. Pat’s company can now successfully conduct most of their orientation online. Ozark’s goal is to put everything they can online without sacrificing the quality of traditional orientation.

Drivers show up at the terminal ready to roll.

They have reduced their orientation from 3 days to 1 day since drivers can do most of their orientation from a smart phone. Since transitioning, they have seen an increase of participation from their new hires.

They are even saving money on their motel spending. The drivers get a truck as soon as they arrive on the yard. They can just spend the night in the tractor instead of being shuttled back and forth to a motel. Imagine how much money they are saving by eliminating just one night in a motel per driver.

Pat was even able to record the presentations that were normally given in orientation. The drivers would watch them before arriving to save time. He did encounter some push back when he pitched the idea to his coworkers. Some of them were skeptical because they fear change. Some of them were only hesitant because they did not want to be video recorded.

After he explained they would no longer have to do a weekly presentation, everyone jumped on board.

Pre-orientation packets include a lot of safety training too. Ozark assigns each new driver several safety videos to watch during orientation. The system also allows them to give follow up assignments weekly or monthly. Drivers are familiar with the format as soon as they clear orientation, so watching the monthly safety videos has become a habit.

Give your drivers what they want.

Drivers are eager to get on the road from the moment they get a job offer. Most drivers hate the orientation phase of employment because they have to sit around for days waiting for the keys to their new truck. But with online orientation smoothing the process, they appreciate diving headfirst into the hands-on tests. Paperwork, driving tests, and drug tests are completed in less than one day.

Ozark has been able to offer multiple orientations per week because of the efficiency of remote orientation. They have more time now that in-person orientation only takes one day at the terminal.

Because of the national crisis, logistics companies are looking for new and innovative ways to streamline their procedures. Infinit-I Workforce Solutions wants to reach out and help the industry in any way possible. That’s why we are offering our learning management system free for 30 days to new users. See how remote online orientation can improve your drivers experience.

If communication and training are your priority, our technology makes it simple.

Truck Drivers Dedicated to Social Distancing

For most of their workday, truck drivers are isolated in the cab of a truck, moving goods across America. When the time comes, however, to take their 30-minute break, they are even more exposed than the typical public. They are fully reliant that everyone around them is practicing proper social distancing rules recommended by President Trump and the CDC.  

This puts truck drivers at a high risk of spreading the virus across the country. As a professional driver, you are already doing everything you can to keep the country running smoothly. Are you taking proper preventative measures to keep yourself safe and rolling?   

Truck drivers don’t have the option of going home for lunch to avoid a crowd. Some truck drivers carry a pantry of non-perishable food items with them, but most rely on fast food restaurants and truck stop eateries for their daily intake. Truck stops across the country have resorted to closing their dining rooms and driver lounges to slow the spread of the virus, so truck drivers are having difficulty finding a place to relax or take a break.   

Another difficulty faced by America’s movers is the availability of shared facilities. Truck drivers don’t share the same luxury as most citizens, being able to use your private toilet and shower daily. Every restroom they come in contact with has been used by someone else, flushed by someone else, and showered in by someone else—each an opportunity to contract viruses from others.

Some drivers have taken their social distancing measures to the extreme. Such is the case for Brittney Richardson, Owner Operator from Kansas City, KS. As Brittney and her family are showing daily concern about her exposure, she is not taking the distancing recommendations lightly. Always wearing gloves inside and outside the cab, she recognizes all surfaces she is touching are viable points of contact with the virus. Every time she enters her cab from outside exposure, she is sure to spray down her door, handles, buttons, and knobs with disinfectant spray to kill the virus.   

But how extreme is too extreme? Brittney feels so anxious about sharing public facilities that she has set up her own personal port-a-potty in the cab of her truck. Her make-shift, 5-gallon bucket with an attached toilet seat can be seen in this video. While Brittney has taken such drastic measures to eliminate exposure to the Coronavirus, this could lead to different types of health hazards.   

While pre-planning your next load, check out this interactive map that shows how each county across the US is social distancing. You can use it to strategically choose places to stop that will minimize your exposure.   

As always, focus on your own safety first. If everyone practices the guidelines recommended by governmental authorities, your exposure to the virus should be limited. America relies on truck drivers for their everyday necessities. Your health is a contributing factor to the health of the country. Stay safe, stay clean, keep rolling! 

A red truck in front of the American Flag

In this time of great uncertainty and fear, we gather great hope by looking to the heroes among us who work tirelessly to provide for our day-to-day needs. As the coronavirus accelerates through our communities, we see everyday heroes rising to the challenge to protect and preserve their communities: doctors, nurses, first responders, and truck drivers.

The greatest despair in our communities during the coronavirus crisis to date has been the fear of the unknown. Not only are we uncertain of who will be affected by this virus and how, but also whether our basic needs will be met from day to day. This fear rears its ugly head in many forms, but particularly in mobs over the last roll of toilet paper, the last jug of milk, or the last bottle of hand sanitizer. And who is driving across the country every day, for hours at a time, in order to ensure the shelves get filled and our basic needs are met? Truck drivers.

Truck drivers are the unsung heroes of this crisis. While communities shelter in place, truck drivers are out on the road, away from their families, and possibly exposing themselves to danger, for the sake of the greater good.

The National Impact of Trucking

This nation is heavily reliant on truck drivers, with trucks moving over 71 percent of all freight in the U.S. Every year, truck drivers haul over 10 billion tons of freight, equalling about 30 pounds of goods per person in the United States. That’s a whole lot of toilet paper. 

In fact, most grocery stores would run out of food in only three days if it weren’t for long haul truck drivers, according to Business Insider.

No Rest for the Weary

At this moment, we should be praising these heroes for their service to our country. Instead, our nation’s truck drivers are being pushed to their limits with little thanks or recognition. They must drive for longer hours with little rest. When the opportunity for a break arises, many rest stops have been closed due to coronavirus precautions. Additionally, nearly all the restaurants nationwide are only offering take-out, which means truck drivers can’t sit and enjoy a meal. According to the Wall Street Journal, truck drivers are working harder than ever, with almost no rest, and are diligently delivering supplies such as medical equipment, food, and other necessities. In many cases, they are being stopped at state lines and asked where they’ve been, in order to slow the transmission of the virus. This not only slows the flow of goods but criminalizes drivers.

With many of the main transportation corridors closing rest stops and restaurants, it is extremely difficult for truck drivers to continue hauling these loads into affected states and cities. And yet they do. Day after day, hour after hour, our nation’s truck drivers drive without enough rest or sustenance into the breach to make sure Americans have the things they need. They are our everyday, unsung heroes.

We Salute Our Heroes

At Vertical Alliance, our goal is safety on the road. But as trucking industry consultant Dan Baker likes to say, “We aren’t in the trucking business, we’re in the people business.” So we want to salute each of the 1.8 million truck drivers out there who are keeping our country running, who are on the front lines of our nation’s attack against this pandemic. You are keeping us safe, well, and fed. We salute you. Thank you for your service to our country. God bless you, and God bless America.

Professional truck drivers rejoice, especially the seasoned ones, as the news spreads about Hours of Service (HOS) Rules being lifted temporarily. There may be some misconceptions, however, about just how widespread the effect of the relief is 

According to the emergency declaration, the effort is geared only toward those drivers who are hauling supplies that will directly assist relief. The relaxed regulations would not apply to a driver hauling non-essential goods, like cosmetics or paint. 

Qualified loads might include: 

  • Medicine or medical supplies 
  • Fuel 
  • Cleaning Supplies 
  • Food for emergency restocking 
  • Livestock (a precursor to food)  
  • Other qualified loads (See the US DOT website for a comprehensive list) 

If a driver has a load of both qualified items and non-qualified items, he does not have to comply with normal HOS regulations as long as the load is mostly emergency items. For multi-stop loads, if a driver delivers all his qualified emergency items and his next deliveries do not qualify, he will be regulated by regular HOS rules.  

Truck drivers currently have to comply with complicated rules regarding how many hours they can drive in a day and in a week. Under this relief effort, there is no such thing as a “fresh clock.” According to FMCSA, drivers do not have to abide by an 11 or 14-hour clock, nor are their 60/70 clocks in effect. When the relief effort is over, drivers will not have to endure a 34-hour break to reset. Simply go back to normal.  

Many may question how their ELDs will allow them to drive so many hours without throwing alerts to their safety departments. DOT recommends you switch your clock to personal conveyance (off-duty driving). When normal conditions return, drivers will automatically acquire a fresh 60/70 clock (given they were on personal conveyance a consecutive 34 hours).  When fatigued, a driver should immediately inform their employer to receive a standard 10-hour break.  

Eventually, the pandemic will die off and normal regulations resume. Until then, truck drivers will keep America on their feet, as they often do, by working tirelessly to supply consumers with commodities often taken for granted. Remember to thank a truck driver, their hard work and dedication keeps this country rolling!  #ThankATrucker

A Trucker washes his hands with soap | trucking safety during a pandemic

With most of the world panicking over the rapidly spreading Coronavirus, it is important to take a level-headed approach to keep your business and your workforce safe. Here’s how you can promote trucking safety during a pandemic.

How is COVID-19 affecting the trucking industry?

Supply chains are in an awkward place as consumers are stockpiling supplies while stores are reducing operations or closing altogether. While this affects the trucking industry, the continued demand for goods means trucking companies are positioned well. The important thing is to keep calm and stay safe.

The Business Impact of Pandemic

While some fleets have stopped their routes temporarily, others have kept right on trucking. The implications of this decision will vary for each company so keeping an open line of communication throughout the supply chain is crucial. 

The silver lining of delays: your drivers now have more time to complete their important safety training modules.

The trucking companies who emerge from this crisis will be the ones with a robust safety training program that protects the companies and the drivers from exposure–both to business risks and to the virus.

Watch this video for tips and tricks on how your trucking company can navigate through the Coronavirus crisis.

Keeping the Workforce Safe

Over the road drivers already practice social distancing by the nature of their jobs. However, there are some best practices to avoid exposure to the virus and stay healthy:

  • • At truck stops, use wet wipes or tissues when touching surfaces such as fuel pumps and doorknobs.
  • • Wash hands when entering and exiting restrooms. 
  • • When possible, don’t touch doors, counter tops, or other surfaces.
  • • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw away immediately. If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into an elbow and wash the garment as soon as possible.
  • • Limit proximity with other people as much as possible. Try to stay at least six feet apart.

Keep Calm and Truck On

It is easy to panic when you hear the word pandemic, but it is important to keep calm. Mass panic has caused stocks to crash once already and could cause much more damage to people and businesses if left unchecked. 

Communicate often (virtually) and set the tone of leadership for all your business partners to ensure as little disruption as possible. You will reap the rewards once the panic is over. 

For most of their career, truckers practice social distancing without even trying. Isolation is the nature of the job. While being a truck driver may seem like a solo (or duo) gig, they share contact with many people all over the country. The typical day of a trucker involves loading/unloading, fueling up, scaling, and sharing facilities with others. Truckers should take extra preventative measures after coming in contact with shared surfaces during these activities. Here are some tips and tricks to help you reduce your risk: 

  • Disinfect the inside of your cab daily.  
  • Wear disposable gloves when trading Bills of Lading or other important documents.  
  • Clean and sanitize the outside of your truck and trailer often.
  • Wash your hands, face, clothes, coffee mug, etc. as often as possible.

Please reference The American Chemistry Council’s recommended products, click the link below:


As supply shortages spread across the country, Americans are becoming increasingly more dependent on truck drivers. From coast to coast, consumers are demanding more supplies to be manufactured and delivered. Truck drivers are the key to delivering necessary goods to consumers quickly and efficiently, however, they can only drive so many miles in 11 hours.

The FMCSA has recently relaxed HOS regulations to help remedy the national emergency. Drivers who haul medical supplies, hand sanitizer and disinfectants, food for emergency restocking, etc. do not have to abide by the 11-hour and 14-hour rules. They can now drive as long as they are safely able to, as long as they take a full 10-hour break between shifts. 

A truck driver's dash while driving including a gps unit | nuclear verdicts

Nuclear verdicts quadrupled last year, leaving hundreds of carriers out of business and thousands of drivers out of jobs.

And while there is a great appetite out there for the “deep pockets” of the trucking industry, with a few tweaks to your training and documentation system, you can insulate yourself from them.

How can I protect my company from nuclear verdicts?

Nuclear verdicts can put a trucking carrier out of business, and any gap in training or documentation is an opportunity for a plaintiff’s attorney to make the case against your company. Protect your company by establishing a culture of safety and documentation.

A Look Inside an Attorneys’ Nuclear Verdict Playbook

Plaintiffs’ attorneys have a sophisticated bag of tricks, in which they comb through data to discover vulnerabilities in carriers’ processes and procedures. They use these data analytics to make decisions on whether to go to court or settle or when to drop a case altogether.

Attorneys look at a variety of data, including CSA scores, logs, and reporting inefficiencies, then drill down on those issues to prove their cases and win millions of dollars for their plaintiff. Attorneys have data analysts ready to get the next nuclear verdict, so trucking companies need to be armed and ready, protecting their vulnerabilities and ensuring that all processes and procedures are above par.

The “Dirty Five”

Attorneys have a well-known attack strategy for nuclear verdicts, using the “Dirty Five” against drivers. These are five categories that are known winners for nuclear verdicts:

  • • Driver Fatigue
  • • Distracted Driving
  • • Driving Under the Influence
  • • Poor equipment maintenance
  • • Inexperienced or poorly-trained driver

Your Nuclear Verdict Playbook

If attorneys have a playbook for getting nuclear verdicts, you should have one for avoiding them. Gone are the days when a robust safety program was a “nice to have.” Welcome to the days of “establish your program, or you’re out of business.” 

Infinit-I Workforce Solutions has published a new whitepaper, which details our strategy on a data-driven approach to avoiding nuclear verdicts. Read the whitepaper and learn about how a culture of safety and accurate, detailed documentation can save your company from nuclear verdicts, extravagant insurance premiums, and bankruptcy.

Infinit-I Workforce Solutions’ Checklist to Avoid Nuclear Verdicts

If you’re not quite ready to commit, we are offering a checklist to get you started on nuclear verdict prevention. Follow the steps below to protect your company and your drivers.

  1.   Avoid accidents in the first place by creating a culture of safety that utilizes short, frequent, consistent online safety awareness training partnered with real-time documentation.
  2.   When accidents do happen, mitigate liability and the likelihood that the case goes to trial by making sure that 1) the driver is prepared to begin your company’s defense at the site of the accident, and 2) your office is prepared to quickly produce consistent documentation and a safety portfolio that discourages litigation
  3.   If the accident goes to trial, make sure that driver training, company policies, licensing, and medical records are thoroughly documented, reducing the threat of nuclear verdicts

Key Takeaways:

  • • Nuclear verdicts are on the rise, and trucking companies must be hyper-vigilant to reduce risk exposure.
  • • Create a culture of safety using Infinit-I Workforce Solutions’ training toolkit and documentation system.
  • • Plaintiffs’ attorneys have a data-driven approach to snagging nuclear verdicts. You need a data-driven playbook on how to avoid them.
A driver stands in the sun beside his truck cab | Lower driver turnover

Truck driver turnover hovers around 90% on a good day. This costs trucking businesses a small fortune, from onboarding to maintaining safety standards, to delays that a short staff will inevitably cause. With such a high demand for talent, keeping your drivers means keeping your business on the road without interruptions. The question all trucking companies are asking is, “how can I lower truck-driver turnover?”

Why is driver turnover so high?

According to our data, most driver turnover happens within the first 180 days of employment, showing that newer drivers have a hard time acclimating to the lifestyle. Secondly, long-haul routes see higher turnover. The longer the route, the shorter the tenure.

The High Cost of High Turnover

The average cost to replace a truck driver is $8,200, and the average tenure with one employer is one year. On top of that, the cost of replacing a driver is roughly three times the average cost of turnover in the U.S. 

Replacing your entire workforce every year adds up, and with profit margins already slim, trucking companies can’t afford to pay for that revolving door year after year and stay in business. 

How do you lower driver turnover? Well, first, we need to address the solvable root causes.

Addressing the Causes of High Turnover

Being on the road is hard; we all know that. Many newer drivers don’t fully grasp the impact of life on the road until they are in the thick of it. Long hours alone and separation from loved ones can be difficult to deal with if a driver is unprepared. And many drivers struggle to engage with their coworkers and peers because of distance. Add to that the level of responsibility and constant situational awareness that a driver needs to have top of mind at all times.

A truck driver is responsible for not only a 1,000-pound vehicle but tens of thousands of dollars of cargo. Add to that the responsibility for maintenance and safety. A truck driver must always be up to date on safety training and always cognizant of other drivers on the road. 

This level of responsibility, coupled with limited human engagement, is taxing on an individual, and many give up.

Solving for Human Connection, Engagement, and Responsibility

Trucking companies mostly understand the need for driver training and engagement. The rules and regulations of the road are many, and truckers are held accountable for every misstep and even every perceived misstep. Not only does this reflect on the driver’s record, impacting their ability to work and make a decent salary, but it also reflects on the trucking company. If a driver gets a negative CSA score because of maintenance or other issues, so does the company. 

The pressure is high on both drivers and companies, and many trucking companies have renewed interest in safety training programs. An investment in safety training is an investment in the company. And it could also help lower driver turnover.

“You are not in the trucking business. You are in the people business.”

Noted industry icon, Dan Baker, is famous for this line. No matter the age or generation of a truck driver, one thing always stays the same: people need to feel like they belong. This is why the trucking business must be about people first. 

Drivers stay with a trucking company, not because of pay or benefits, but because they feel like they belong and that they are appreciated. Many drivers feel like they are a business’ lowest priority because they are on the road, and it’s important to go the extra mile to prove that they matter to you. To learn how to build a great culture of belonging, check out our webinar.

But how do you solve the lack of human connection when drivers are on the road? And how can this lower driver turnover?

Appreciated employees are retained employees. You need a training program that recognizes drivers for their good work, not just their CSA scores. It also helps to give drivers morale-boosting experiences, like wishing them a happy birthday or happy service anniversary. 

When a new driver starts with your company, roll out the red carpet. Make a big deal about them and go out of your way to show them that you’re happy they’ve joined the company.  A little bit of recognition can go a long way in increasing morale and lowering driver turnover.

A Win-Win Solution 

The best way to reduce driver turnover is to keep the drivers you already have by creating a company culture that inspires drivers. Infinit-I Workforce Solutions has a cultural relations training program to help you build company-wide relationships that help all employees understand their role in company culture. To learn more about building that culture, click here.

Training and Engagement to Reduce Driver Turnover

Infinit-I Workforce Solutions has a customizable, mobile training tool that solves all the root causes of driver turnover, helping you retain your workforce and keep your business rolling.

With brief, easily-digestible training modules, drivers can complete training without eating into drive-time or off-time. In fact, most of our drivers complete their training during load times! Brief quizzes at the end of each module automatically store results, ensuring your company stays up to date with mandatory safety training requirements.

Best of all, the tool has a built-in employee appreciation function. Even while your drivers are on the road, they will know that you value them not only as drivers but as human beings. That will go a long way to lower your driver turnover. Because when the competition for talent is fierce, differentiating your company even in small ways can make a big difference.

Infinit-I Workforce Solutions takes care of all of the administration for you. We know that even if your intentions for employee recognition are great, the administration of a recognition program for tens of thousands of drivers is beyond your capacity. That’s why we built it in. 

5 Things to Remember About Lowering Driver Turnover:

  • • Life on the road is hard, and a little appreciation can go a long way.
  • • Training is necessary but needs to be retained for it to be effective.
  • • Brief training modules with videos work well when time is of the essence.
  • • An appreciated employee is a retained employee.
  • • A training program that combines state-of-the-art training with employee appreciation will lower your driver turnover.

Reduce Truck Driver Turnover

A close-up of police lights at night | Nuclear verdicts

In 2019, trucking bankruptcies quadrupled due to nuclear verdicts. The strategy seen in courtrooms time and time again involved plaintiff’s attorneys pleading to the juries’ “better angels” to award families millions of dollars as a result of a crash with a truck. This is with or without the trucker’s fault and seems to have no relationship to the actual incident or its severity.

What is a nuclear verdict?

A nuclear verdict is defined as a judgment in excess of $10 million as a result of a truck-related crash. Nuclear verdicts also indicate a disproportionate relationship between the settlement and the actual economic or physical damages incurred by the plaintiff.

Nuclear Verdicts in 2019

In the first half of the year, 640 carriers went out of business because of nuclear verdicts, according to the Wall Street Journal. The problem has been noticed by major publications, including Business Insider and Bloomberg, calling 2019 a Recession for the trucking industry.

And while the American Trucking Association is working on proposed legislation to combat nuclear verdicts, that will be years in the making. 

The Ripple Effect of Nuclear Verdicts

Nuclear verdicts don’t just affect certain trucking companies; they affect us all. From job loss to insurance premium prices, the downstream effect of nuclear verdicts is affecting the entire trucking industry.

In 2019 alone, tens of thousands of drivers lost their jobs due to carrier bankruptcies as a result of nuclear verdicts. With that level of job loss, it’s no wonder 2019 was deemed a trucking recession. Imagine if tens of thousands of people were put out of work in any other industry as a result of rampant lawsuits with no reform in sight: 10,000 investment bankers, 10,000 plumbers, 10,000 doctors…you get the idea. There would be protests, legislation drafted, and major structural changes implemented. But the cultural narrative regarding “big trucks” in this country, even though they are a driver of America’s economy, is that truck drivers and truck companies are dangerous on the road.

This is why trucking companies must be hyper-vigilant. 

Preventable Risk

Hyper-vigilance in this day and age means assessing and managing preventable risks. When nuclear verdicts are on the rise, so are insurance premiums. Now it is more important than ever to protect your company and your drivers through regular maintenance and safety training.

According to the FMCSA, last year, driver error accounted for 87 percent of crash risk, while 10 percent was caused by preventable maintenance. With the added scrutiny on trucking companies and the prevalence of nuclear verdicts, it is more important than ever to address those preventable risks to avoid losing your business altogether.

How Can Nuclear Verdicts Affect My Company?

Currently, insurance premiums are rising year over year by 50 – 100 percent, even for smaller carriers. Carriers of all sizes are being affected by nuclear verdicts, with insurance companies mitigating losses on the front end. Some insurance carriers even are getting out of the business altogether.

When profit margins hover around 5 percent, the doubling of insurance premiums can be injurious to trucking companies, even forcing some companies into bankruptcy.

To read more about the downstream effects and help on calculations for future cost models, check out our whitepaper.

What Can I Do to Avoid a Nuclear Verdict?

  • • Driver training is the single best thing you can do to protect your company from a nuclear verdict. Contact one of our experts today about customizable training for your drivers.
  • • Establish processes and procedures for truck maintenance across your enterprise, even for contractors. 
  • • Documentation, documentation, documentation. If you don’t document it, it didn’t happen. Make sure all your training and maintenance records are stored and updated properly.