Tag Archive for: risk mitigation


This is the largest verdict against a single trucking company in US History. Let that sink in. I am sure you have heard about this devastating accident. This verdict has made headlines all over the country.

The Synopsis

$411 Million Dollar Crash

Duane Washington rode his motorcycle down the interstate on this fateful day, as he often did. Further down the highway, a collision occurred. Having seen the accident, possibly seconds too late, a truck driver jackknifed his tractor-trailer to avoid the collision. A total of 45 vehicles were involved in this accident.

According to Duane Washington’s lawyer, Washington was not able to avoid the jackknifed truck because its emergency lights were not in use. If Washington had seen emergency flashers, he may not have smashed into the back of the truck and been thrown into the median. He may not have suffered life-altering injuries from which he will never fully recover.

If the driver had just turned on his lights in the emergency lane, Top Auto may still have its own authority. They may have been more defensible in court. They may have been able to settle.

This case has set a precedent for all future trials involving commercial motor vehicles.

The Advice

I spoke with a colleague of mine, a safety manager from my previous employment. We reminisced shortly before I turned the conversation to business. I wanted to know his thoughts on the latest nuclear verdict to hit the news.

Lady Justice“What if I was sitting in the courtroom when the $411 million verdict was handed over? How would I explain it to my employees, or to my boss? How would I explain it to my family?”

He went on to admit this kind of loss would be devastating for most trucking companies in operation today.

“Drivers make mistakes. Properly trained drivers make smaller mistakes.”

A simple statement, yet the sentiment echoed in my head for some time.  While it is impossible to eliminate human error throughout your fleet, you can dramatically reduce the number of mistakes committed through behavioral changes. Frequent and consistent training brings about small changes over time. Each of those small behavioral changes contributes to safer driving habits, safer drivers, and safer roadways for all.

The Solution

While hindsight may be 2020 now for Top Auto Express, it is far too late for the (no longer operating) trucking company to be proactive in driver training. However, here are a few courses that could have helped them avoid such a damaging verdict:

Collisions, Rollovers, & Jackknifing

  1. At the Scene of an Accident
  2. Driver Factors
  3. Fixed Object Collisions – High Speed
  4. Fixed Object Collisions – Low Speed
  5. Highway Factors
  6. Jackknifing
  7. Load Effects

Speed and Space Management

  1. Stopping Distance
  2. Spatial Awareness
  3. Incident Avoidance

At the Scene of an Accident

  1. Be Concerned About Litigation
  2. Trucking Companies Are Targets
  3. Do What You Say You’ll Do
  4. Responding to the Catastrophic Event
  5. What to Gather at the Scene
  6. The Care of Your Driver
  7. Accident Procedures


  1. Heavy Trucking Braking System & Braking Techniques
  2. Inoperative Taillights
  3. Inoperative Headlamps
  4. Triangle Placement
  5. Operating CMV with Lamps – Reflectors Obscured
  6. Changing Lanes for CMV Drivers
  7. Tailgating
  8. Unsafe Driving Acts of Motorists Around Large Trucks

Download your free copy of our training management LMS course catalog

Videos for every need

The courses listed above were all available on the Infinit-I platform at the time of the accident. Each of these was an opportunity to create safer driving habits for the drivers of Top Auto Express. Even if the driver had been properly trained, but was not able to avoid the accident, the verdict would have likely been much smaller if he had reacted properly.

“Drivers make mistakes. Properly trained drivers make smaller mistakes.”

The BIG Question

What would a $411 million verdict mean for your company? Join the discussion on our newest LinkedIn page for Trucking Safety Professionals.

If you are not a current client of ours, but you see value in the discussion, follow this link for a quick overview of what our platform can do for you, your company, your drivers, your owners, and other stakeholders such as insurance providers and business partners. Now, you can take advantage of the Infinit-I system absolutely free.

In just 30 days, we promise:30-Complimentary Trial

  • – Reduced Accidents
  • – Reduced Violations
  • – Reduced Training Time
  • – Reduced Driver Turnover
  • – Increased Profitability
  • – Increased Litigation Protection
  • – Fleet-Wide Communication
  • – Simplified Safety Training

Start your complimentary trial today with the most trusted, preferred, and referred learning management system in the trucking industry. Enhance your safety culture and create safer drivers with Infinit-I Workforce Solutions.


The American Transportation Research Institute, verdict awards between 2010 to 2018  rose 51.7% annually. This number is astronomical when compared to standard inflation which grew 1.7% during the same time period. The highest awarded verdict in this time period was $91 million. Albeit an outlier, its existence proves the possibility for your company.

Transportation Research Institute, verdict awards between 2010 to 2018  rose 51.7% annually

We searched the phrase, “How to Sue a Trucking Company.” Google returned almost 3 million results in less than half a second. Accident victims have virtually unlimited access to resources that explain a step-by-step guide to penalizing your company.

How to Sue a Trucking Company

Legal websites lend advice stating employers are accountable for truck accidents, not the actual driver.

How could an attorney advise that the truck driver is not responsible? Even when the truck driver was at fault. Even if the driver, the one with his hands on the wheel, was drinking and driving. How is that driver not responsible?

The answer is simple: There’s not enough money in pursuing legal action toward an individual truck driver.

It is the employer who holds the checkbook.  Changes in the litigation procedure allow nuclear verdicts to become commonplace.

Thousands of attorneys employ this practice often. Accidents happen. Unfortunately, there’s nothing a trucking company can do to completely avoid litigation. The best thing you can do is prepare.

“…Truck companies will knowingly continue unsafe practices unless they know they will be held responsible with large verdicts when they are at fault.”

Michael Leizerman, Co-Founder of Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys

During discovery, prosecutors will attempt to discredit your company in any way possible. Attorneys will look for any of the following weaknesses:

  • – Negligence in hiring procedure
  • – Failure to maintain equipment
  • – Driver was not properly trained

Any of these scenarios are not difficult to prove and could cement the jury’s decision. Of course, the company would be at fault if the driver wasn’t properly vetted or was presented with defective equipment.

How to Prepare

You don’t have to wait until you are faced with litigation to prepare your defense strategy. For every effort you make in training your drivers and changing behaviors, you are a step closer to avoiding litigation altogether. A highly trained and skilled workforce is much more likely to avoid preventable accidents.

If you do end up needing a defense attorney after an accident, the first thing they will request is documented proof of your proactivity. They may ask questions like:

  • – How often do your drivers participate in training classes?
  • – Have you trained your fleet on specific matters?
  • – Do you drivers know what to do in the event of an accident?
  • – Have you provided all the reasonable accommodations?
  • – Can you prove your company has done everything to establish a solid safety culture?

We Want To Earn Your BusinessYour frequency, consistency, and focus on safety training will prove your commitment to safety. Enhance your safety culture now and positively change driver behaviors before you are faced with legal trouble. Not only will you proactively protect your company from nuclear verdicts, you will be protecting your drivers from injury or death.

The consequences of an accident can be dire for your drivers and for your company. Infinit-I Workforce Solutions offers a learning management system specifically designed to mitigate your risk regarding driver behavior.

We Want To Earn Your Business

We would like to offer you a sneak peek at what our system can do. The only thing it will cost is 30 minutes of your time. Our experts will demonstrate how easy it is to

Free Demo

protect your company, your drivers, and everyone else on the road.

We want the opportunity to prove our value to you. For 30 minutes of your time, we will repay you with complimentary 30-day access to our system. Immediately begin protecting your company from billboard attorneys who specialize in suing trucking companies.

Get a free live Infinit-I Training Management demo!


WEBINAR – Thursday, July 30, 2020 10:30 am – Trial Lawyer Peyton Inge joins trucking consultant Mark Rhea to discuss the prevalence of nuclear verdicts and how to avoid such situations. 

One crash, with the right attorney, can put your company up in smoke. Your preparation to avoid nuclear verdicts is key. Be proactive now or risk turning the lights off, for good.  

Sign-up for a free Infinit-I Expert Roundtable Webinar. 

Infinit-I Webinar Sign-up

Additional Resources:

Chuck Norris Says “Thank You, Truckers!” In This Touching Video

Go Green: How Online Training Saves You Time, Money, and Resources

Increase Fuel Efficiency and Lower Maintenance Costs – Legislation Passed to Improve U.S. Highways


It’s been difficult to adjust to all the changes released by the FMCSA lately. The trucking industry would never have predicted the DOT to relax hours of service regulations. And yet, here we are. Scrambling to research, read, and absorb all the legal jargon thrown our way.

FMCSA is Changing HOS... Again! 4 New HOS Rules

A docket for the outline of the final ruling has been released. Revised HOS regulations will become effective 120 days after publication in the federal register. The actual date has not been released.

 What are the changes?

Pages 8-9 of the final ruling state the changes will include: The 30-minute Break, Introducing the 7/3 Split, Adverse Driving Conditions Exception, and the Short-haul Exception.


The 30-minute Break

Drivers are still required to take a 30-minute break after 8 consecutive hours on duty. Previously, the break was only valid if the driver was in an off-duty status. (off-duty or sleeper berth). Now, the break is valid during on-duty functions as long as you are not driving.

Drivers can now legally take a 30-minute DOT break while:

  • – Waiting in line at the shipper/receiver
  • – Fueling or waiting in line at the fuel pump
  • – Co-driver sitting in the passenger seat
  • – Filling out paperwork
  • – Loading/Unloading/Lumping

Just switch your status to On Duty – Not Driving.

Just switch your status to On Duty – Not Driving.

Introducing the 7/3 Split

The 8/2 split rule is just as complicated as it is helpful. This new HOS ruling expands a driver’s resting options. In addition to the typical 10-hour break or 8/2 split, the FMCSA is introducing the 7/3 split.

The new 7/3 split rule works the same as the 8/2 split. It takes some drivers years to master the concept. Here is a simplified overview:

Truck drivers can be on duty for 14 hours a shift. Only 11 hours of that can be drive time.  Once they have reached 11 hours of driving or 14 hours since their day started (whichever comes first), they must go off duty for at least 10 hours.

Every driver should know this rule by heart. And most stick to this schedule day in and day out.

But what happens if your delivery time is outside your 14-hour window?

But what happens if your delivery time is outside your 14-hour window?

Let’s say a driver starts his shift at 10 am. It is 14 hours until midnight. If he drives 11 hours before midnight, he must stop for 10 hours.

But what if his delivery is scheduled for 2 am? He will be on break; he won’t be able to deliver on time. Unless he uses the new 7/3 split.

So, our driver begins his shift at 10 am, drives a total of 8 hours and arrives at his destination city at 6 pm. That’s too early to deliver but he does not have time to take a full 10-hour break.

With the new rule, the driver must go into the sleeper berth for a full 7 hours. When he wakes up, he can use all the on-duty time that was left over from before his break.

After completing his on-duty functions, he must go back into an off-duty status for at least 3 hours to complete his 10-hour break.

Confusing, right?

In essence, a split will pause the 14-hour on-duty window. When he comes back on duty, he will only have the leftovers from before his 7-hour break. So, if he drove 8 out of 11 hours, after the 7-hour break he can drive the remaining 3 hours.

When he comes out of the sleeper, the 14 starts running again. Since he was on-duty for 8 hours before the 7-hour break, his 3 hours of drive time must be used before his total 14 runs out. He would have 6 hours on duty to get in 3 hours of driving.

After 7 hours in the sleeper:
14 Total – 8 On-duty = 6 On-duty hours left at stop.
11 Drive – 8 drive = 3 Drive hours left at stop.
Must go back off duty for at least 3 hours to complete the break.


Modified Adverse Driving Conditions Exception

Under this exception, two extra drive hours are available to drivers who encounter irregular and unforeseen circumstances that may have slowed your travel. This exception can now be applied to passenger-carrying CMVs.

Adverse Driving Conditions Examples:
  • – Sinkhole or downed powerline that causes a delay
  • – Traffic accident that shuts down traffic
  • – Sudden tornado, snow, fog, etc. that was not in the forecast.

Adverse Driving Conditions Examples:

If you qualify for this exception, you can now drive up to 13 hours as long as you do it within your 14-hour window. Keep in mind, it does not take away your 30-minute break or extend your 14.

This exception does not extend your 60 or 70-hour clock. If you only have 4 hours left on your DOT clock, you will only be allowed to drive out those 4 hours plus the additional 2 hours.

Drivers must follow up with a full 10-hour break. You are not allowed to split rest hours after taking advantage of this exemption.

Not qualified examples:
  • – Adverse weather you knew about or could have discovered by trip planning
  • – Traffic jams during normal rush hour times
  • – Snowstorm in the winter in North Dakota
  • – Loading and Unloading delays

The DOT strongly recommends you log that you were taking advantage of 395.1 Adverse Driving Conditions Exception.


Short-haul Rules

Previously, drivers using the short-haul exemption, staying within an air radius of 100 miles, could not be on duty for more than 12 hours. Short-haul drivers within a 150-mile radius cannot drive beyond the 14 or 16th on-duty hour (depending on the number of days on duty).

This revision extends the radius from 100 to 150 air-miles for all short-haul drivers. It extends the maximum duty period allowed from 12 hours to 14 hours.



More helpful information:

8 Ways Truckers Relieve Stress During the Pandemic

Clearing Up Relaxed HOS Regulations: How Does It Affect You?

Trucking Safety In a Time of Pandemic

Preplanning During a National Pandemic

Safety Managers' Relief; The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

The logistics industry is littered with chatter about the FMCSA’s new drug and alcohol clearinghouse. These new federal regulations change the way trucking companies and CDL holders report data. But what exactly is a clearinghouse?

A clearinghouse is an information hub. It is a source that collects and stores information for a set of users. In a project that has taken years to come to fruition, the federal government has is using this structure for the convenience of trucking companies and CDL holders alike.

What is the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse?

The new Clearinghouse is a secure online database that contains records of violations of FMCSA drug and alcohol testing programs. Available information includes:

  • Positive drug or alcohol test results
  • Altered drug or alcohol test results
  • Drug or alcohol test refusals
  • Return to duty status
  • Follow up testing plan
  • SAP process completion date

The information in the database is not available to the general public, so don’t worry about your private information being released. Only select registered users can access the clearinghouse including employers, medical review officers, substance abuse professionals, and CDL holders.

Who is required to use the Clearinghouse?

Anyone who holds a Commercial Driver’s License or a Commercial Learner’s Permit can use the clearinghouse to access their records. Employers of CDL/CLP holders who operate motor vehicles can use the information to expedite their hiring process.

Drivers will have access to their own information in the Clearinghouse. There is no charge to view their electronic record. They will be able to view their drug and alcohol program violation information and the status of their return-to-duty process.

Medical Review Officers will use the database to report information gathered during DOT physicals and drug or alcohol tests. MROs must report to the clearinghouse database within two days of a failed or refused drug test.

Substance Abuse Professionals are required to report when a CDL/CLP holder is registered in a SAP program and information about a CDL holder’s return to duty activities. They also must identify the dates regarding SAP assessments, completion, and eligibility to RTD.

Use this flow chart to determine your role.

 How will I use the Clearinghouse?

  • REGISTER – Every user must register to use the clearinghouse. Make sure you determine your user role before registration. Your options are Driver, Employer/CTPA, or SAPs/MROs.
  • CONSENT – After registration, drivers must consent to having their records pulled by employers.  * Drivers are not required to register for the Clearinghouse, records will be filed under their CDL number if they do not have an account. Drivers must be registered to respond to electronic consent requests from prospective and current employees.
  • QUERY – Employers will search the database to determine if the driver’s clearinghouse record contains information about drug and alcohol program violations.
  • SAFETY – Improve road safety by preventing CMV related fatalities and injuries. Documents and readily available records will allow employers to make informed hiring decisions. Drivers with a drug/alcohol history might find it more difficult to find a job.

How does the clearinghouse improve roadway safety?

The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse provides employers with access to drug and alcohol violation information in real-time. It is a one-stop shop, making it easier to conduct pre-employment investigations and set qualifications.

The clearinghouse will also make it harder for drivers to conceal violations that normally might slip through the cracks. Access to the information provides more insight into a driver’s background and helps ensure employee compliance.

The database is a vital online tool to identify CMV drivers who have refused or failed drug tests.  It will also identify those who have failed to complete a Return to Duty substance abuse program.

Stay Informed

Browse the website, read FAQs, and subscribe for email updates after you register for the clearinghouse.

Affected Sectors

The new Clearinghouse will impact all CDL holders who operate commercial motor vehicles.

  • Interstate and intrastate motor carriers
  • Passenger carriers
  • School bus drivers
  • Construction equipment operators
  • Limousine drivers
  • Municipal vehicle drivers (e.g. waste management vehicles)
  • Anyone subject to FMCSA drug and alcohol tests

Effective Dates

As of January 6, 2020, employers will now be required to report all drug and alcohol violations to the Clearinghouse. This online database will be used as a tool to conduct inquiries about CDL holders, check RTD status, and eligibility to operate a CMV.

The information stored in the Clearinghouse is relevant to incidences occurring after January 6, 2020. If a violation occurred before that date, it will not be displayed in the Clearinghouse. It is important for safety officers to keep that date in mind throughout the recruiting process.

Drivers do not have to be registered to the clearinghouse for a violation to be attached to them. Clearinghouse records will be associated with their CDL number.

All drivers can choose how they want to be notified of changes to their records. They are given the option of mail or email notifications at the time of registration. Drivers will receive a notification any time information is added, removed, or updated.

How do I consent?

Employers are required to gain consent, written or electronically, from all drivers in order to pull their records. They will then use the Clearinghouse to investigate all CDL/CLP drivers annually and for pre-employment purposes.

Owner Operators will follow a slightly different procedure. They must contact the Clearinghouse to designate an administrator to update their records since they are self-employed.

This streamlined process will create a more transparent view of the driver’s drug/alcohol history. More visibility leads to easier recruiting processes for most companies. And drivers gain the advantage of being able to see firsthand what is on their records instead of relying on word of mouth from safety departments and recruiters.

For more information or to register, go to https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/


What you may have missed:

Speeding Tickets Jump Drastically during COVID-19

Logistics Layoffs; How the Industry is Shifting

Logistics – Legal Trouble after COVID-19

Trucking Safety in a Time of Pandemic

Coronavirus Information for Truckers




The financial effect of the Coronavirus pandemic has been widespread among the citizens and businesses of the United States. As many people are being temporarily laid off, the economy has taken a swift downturn. Most people are only purchasing essentials.

Many businesses have been forced to close their doors because of the loss of revenue. Some may be closed for good.

Are you covered?

Let’s take a look at how the trucking industry will be affected by insurance costs after the national emergency.

Trucking companies may resort to cutting costs to recover from the economic slowdown we have experienced over the last several months. They must be careful, however, as some cost cutting measures could lead to diminished safety for their drivers. Decreasing staff could mean that drivers will have to run longer hours, leading to frequent driver fatigue.

It will also put more wear and tear on the trucks and trailers. There might even be delays in installing safety technologies like in-cab cameras or online training. These situations bring about increased claim activity.

How does that affect your company?

Insurance companies have to maintain a delicate balance between inflow of premiums and what claims they can afford to pay out. Just like in the trucking industry, if that balance is interrupted, the company has to adapt to stay afloat.

Insurance companies will experience changes in their loss ratio, which means will be paying out more than usual in relation to the premiums they receive. Those covered might see an increase in premiums and renewal costs as insurance companies try to recover from the additional losses.

If the loss ratio changes too drastically, underwriters may begin performing risk assessments on existing clients. They will be very selective about who they choose to take on as insureds. It may be difficult to find coverage for companies with a higher risk for accidents/incidents.

Underwriters are already cautious about making decisions when it comes to premiums, coverage, and renewals. The COVID-19 situation can have a serious effect on their current insurable metrics. Future determining factors are likely to include conditions to coverage based on in-cab cameras, safety culture, and availability of online training.

Responsible carriers will actively manage their risks. Investing in safety is the only way to win. Carriers who cut back on safety efforts to save money are setting themselves up for failure. Insurance providers may have to resort to raising their premiums or charging a higher down payment.

How should you respond?

Communicate your efforts with your current insurance partner. Let them know you have a plan on how to survive during the crisis. Include that you are focused on safety. Even though there are social distancing requirements right now, your safety training cannot be put on hold.

Find ways to adapt to the situation if safety remains a big concern. Technology allows safety training to be delivered directly to your drivers, wherever they are, through an online platform. Your current insurers will keep that in mind when performing your risk assessments.

While it is important for your insurer to be aware of the safety measures you are taking, it is just as important for your drivers. They will enjoy the convenience of taking online orientation, remote training, and monthly training classes from anywhere. And employers can retain their peace of mind knowing they are still focused on safety, even during trying times.

What factors affect a risk assessment?

Risk assessment factors usually fall into these two categories:

  • Tangible – things that are quantifiable such as loss run, miles, commodities, CSA scores, etc.
  • Intangible – things that are difficult to measure like company culture, awareness training, technology usage, security, etc.

What might a loss control professional ask about the intangibles?

Intangibles are difficult to measure. The amount you are charged will be up to your insurer’s discretion. Your best bet is to be prepared and make sure your drivers and employees are up to date on safety training. To give you an idea, here are some questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic they might ask:

  • Did you continue safety training through the pandemic?
  • How did social distancing requirements affect your orientations?
  • How did you lead safety efforts working remotely?
  • How did you help your drivers through this time?
  • How did you manage the waivers issued by the DOT and FMCSA?

Make sure you retain records of everything provided to every driver. The only way to prove that your company has a solid focus on safety is to have documented records. The documentation should be readily available in case you need to show that all drivers are adhering to your policies.

Are we at risk of losing our business due to insurance coverage issues?

Short answer: yes.

There are many examples of trucking companies hanging up their keys because of insurance costs. If premiums increase too drastically, it can become impossible to remain operational. Here are a couple of examples of that happening:

  • Carney Trucking – Insurance premiums doubled for this flatbed carrier. They had to close their doors after 27 years in business.
  • 101 Transport – This Wisconsin based carrier ceased operations after a 70% increase in premiums.

Is there anything I can do to protect my company?

Yes. That’s the good news! As always, be proactive in managing your risk. Your insurance broker needs to see your safety-focused efforts.

Remember that if it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen.

Always keep a record of what training was performed, when it was performed, and make sure your drivers sign everything. For years, “billboard attorneys” have been attacking the trucking industry, encouraging the general public to sue truckers.

And they are ruthless when it comes to safety.

During the pandemic, truckers have been running with relaxed regulations when carrying designated items. If an incident were to occur while a driver is over normal hours, a lawyer might view this as preventative. They could say the driver was negligent and possibly fatigued because he isn’t used to this much road time.

Document everything!

In case of litigation, your best defense is proving your company’s focus on safety. Always be proactive with your safety training and awareness programs. Make sure your drivers are familiar with all your policies (drug/alcohol testing, incident reporting, etc.).

Most importantly, you must be able to prove they have been provided with proper safety training and equipment. Eliminate all reasonable doubt. Carriers need to focus on documenting training and information exchange, especially for upcoming insurance renewals.

Let’s say it again: If it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen.



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.

In the last couple of years, insurance premiums for transportation firms have been skyrocketing, and there’s no end in sight. The best trucking companies with the best CSA scores see a 20 to 30 percent increase, while other companies can see a double and even triple increase. Why are we seeing rising insurance premiums for transportation firms and what are the causes?

Causes and Effects of Rising Insurance Premiums for Transporation Firms

Rising insurance premiums for transportation firms can potentially affect the nationwide economy, as costs are passed from insurance companies to trucking companies, and down the line to consumers. A big part of these rising premiums is litigation and the increased frequency of nuclear verdicts.

Nuclear verdicts are settlements for $10 million and up, and 2019 was a record year for them, topping out at nearly $300 million for the record-breaker. With that kind of money going out the door on a regular basis, insurance companies are having a harder time insuring trucking companies. In fact, many insurance providers have completely exited the trucking business altogether. These rising costs impact the insurance companies’ loss ratio, which then results in rising insurance premiums for transportation firms.

How is a loss ratio calculated?

Insurance companies calculate loss ratios to determine profitability. They calculate money lost in claims vs. money paid in premiums to determine their loss ratio. When the ratio gets narrow, premiums increase.

Risk Exposure

By being in the trucking industry, you accept a certain amount of risk. However, every trucking business owner should take an honest inventory of what risks they can actually control, then develop a strategy to address those risks.

Insurance companies are looking for reasons to increase your premium, so you need a tool to help mitigate that risk and demonstrate to your insurance provider that you are insurable and maintain a culture of safety.

With insurance premiums rising so sharply, there is an opportunity to lighten the risk exposure with quality safety training for drivers. Safety programs have been shown to help mitigate the rising costs of insurance premiums and reduce the instance of nuclear verdicts.

Safety First

A high-quality safety program must be accessible for drivers and have flawless, immediate reporting. Driver scores completed modules, and ongoing engagement go a long way toward proving to an insurance company or a courtroom that you have an airtight culture of safety.

Infinit-I Workforce Solutions is a customizable, cloud-based tool that helps you create and enforce your unique safety program. With short, engaging videos, drivers can engage on their phones without impacting drive or rest time. Each module has a quiz, and scores are recorded in real-time. 

In an environment of high risk and low profit margins, you need to do all you can to mitigate rising insurance premiums and litigation. Our safety training solution can help.

What do I need to know now? | Rising Insurance Premiums for Transportation Firms

  •  Insurance premiums for transportation firms are rising rapidly, sometimes doubling or tripling year over year.
  •  Your transportation firm can mitigate rising costs by implementing our customizable training solution.
  •  Documentation could save your company in the courtroom and make you more insurable.

Improving safety practices without improving documentation is like getting your degree, but not keeping your transcript. You can say you did all you could. You may have met your goals. But at the end of the day, you’ve literally got nothing to show. That’s the position of many trucking companies every day by training drivers with an unreliable documentation system. In the eyes of the law: If it’s not written down, signed, and dated — or if you can’t find it — it didn’t happen. The new IRT scoring system is only going to up the ante. But you can prepare. Here’s how we’re already solving this problem for thousands of clients.

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The U.S. Department of Transportation is reviewing its drug policies in light of marijuana legalization. And it looks as if the policies are about to get tougher.

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Proper Records are Key to Mitigate Risk

The trucking industry can be a risky business. Every business has moving parts, but the moving parts for the trucking industry weigh several tons and are rolling down the road at 60+ mile per hour.

You also have the financial risk that includes millions of dollars in cargo, plus significant health and safety hazards to deal with. These risks can lead to devastating financial losses if you are not careful.

So, how can you manage and mitigate risk associated with your industry? The best answer is improved safety practices and proper documentation.

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