How To Build Your A-Team Against Truck Driving Nuclear Verdicts 2021

Truck Driving Nuclear Verdict

Safety Conscience Environment

The words “safety culture” are more prevalent in the trucking industry than ever before and is needed to guard against truck driving nuclear verdicts. Everyone is talking about it, from advisors to insurers, to lawyers to CEOs. But what is a solid safety culture, and why is it coming up more and more often these days?

Safety culture is more than just a department that analyses ELD data and slows down speedy drivers. It is more than quarterly safety meetings and monthly training. A culture is a way of life, a shared set of beliefs between a group of people. A culture of safety can make or break a trucking company these days, especially in the courtroom. It starts from the top and involves every single person in the company.   

What happens before court?

Trucking accidents are unavoidable. How you respond to them can make or break your company. We often wonder what it would be like to be on the stand with daggered questions being thrown at every chance. Would you play it cool using yes or no answers? Only speaking when spoken to?

Or would you break into a Jack Nicholson-Esque monologue of truth spewing? Your words are weighing on everyone in the courtroom. The once pomp and smarmy plaintiff attorney who demanded answers now stands breathless at your dramatic reenactment. He definitely can’t handle the truth.

The actual truth: By the time a case makes it to trial, plaintiff attorneys have already gathered an immense amount of data. They don’t need answers from you; they already got them during discovery.

Discovery is the phase of investigation where an attorney decides to drop, settle out of court, or take the case to trial. You might be called in for a deposition. During a deposition, you will swear an oath, much like in court. Your testimony could either be used in the courtroom on your behalf, or you might be called to testify.

The deposition and discovery portion of a lawsuit is a turning point. You get to set the tone during discovery that will carry through the rest of the case. Your existing safety culture is a significant factor in determining the outcome of the case.

Building a Solid Safety Culture 

 A solid safety culture begins with the right team. Do not wait for an accident to occur before you have these people in place. Building the right team starts with you. Now.

Your Risk Manager

You will need a dedicated risk-safety individual who is familiar with all the regulations. Find someone who is safety conscience and looks for ways to improve. You will need someone who takes pride in their work and your company. Most importantly, they need to have the temperament to handle drivers, the motoring public, and lawyers.

This person will likely be your company witness in the courtroom. They will explain the who, what, when, where, and why to the jury. They need to be confident, poised and carry a calm demeanor as not to offend the jury. You will benefit from a risk manager who is comfortable with silence.

Often, plaintiff attorneys will stand silent on purpose, hoping the witness with continue to ramble to fill the void. Many court cases have been lost because a witness accidentally said the wrong thing in a nervous rant.

Your Insurer

Hire individuals who are prompt, thorough, and asks the right questions. This person will work closely with your insurance broker and adjuster. Please make sure they are familiar with trucking procedures, accidents, and litigation. They will need to know how to look for evidence at the scene of an accident.

Always report accidents to your insurer as soon as possible. It is challenging to defend lawsuits where the accident was filed late to the insurance carrier. Be sure to give them all the information you have so they can adequately assess the situation.

Your Attorney

You will need to hire an attorney with a thorough working knowledge of trucking. If you get sued for a minor fender bender, the prosecutor isn’t going after a new bumper. They want your whole company. You will need an attorney who is likable and can relate to a jury.

You will need someone who truly understands trucking. Hire an attorney who can easily interpret federal regulations and understands the nuances of your policies and procedures. During a trial, they will need to explain the compliance and competency to a jury. Driver fitness and HOS are not easy to understand for the general public. Your verdict will depend on your attorney’s ability to simplify laws so they can understand.

Your Drivers

In addition, you should only hire drivers who want to be a part of your safety culture. It involves every single person in your company, not just the ones who defend you. Truck driving nuclear verdicts are at an all-time high so look for drivers who take pride in their work, company, and themselves.

Trucking is not the cultural icon it once was; there are a lot of newcomers. Most of the new drivers didn’t grow up around trucking like in days past. Truck driving may only be a job for them, not a career. The positive side to that is the ability to mold them to your own culture. The risk is apathy during a driver shortage.

There are thousands of available trucking jobs right now that are easy to come by. If they are looking to collect a paycheck, they may be careless.

Reevaluate your hiring process to target drivers who are passionate about their work. Look for drivers with who you can build a long-term relationship with. The longer a driver stays with your company, the more confidence you will have in their performance. 

Your Training Program

The quality of your training program is vital to the strength of your safety culture and preventing truck driving nuclear verdicts. You will need a training platform that specializes in trucking topics from adverse weather to truck parking. Awareness training is a process that should be gradual, consistent, and frequent but not take up too much time.

The average American adult has an attention capacity of 6-7 minutes. After that, it is difficult to retain new information. If you train your staff through in-person training sessions, it is best to keep them short and to the point.

In this technology-focused day and age, in-person safety training sessions are obsolete as paper maps and CB radios. Sure, they are clutch in emergencies or for nostalgic purposes. With all our modern conveniences, in-person safety training is irrelevant and old school.

Every part of trucking has advanced in the last ten years from communication to booking to navigation to hiring. Some drivers nowadays rely so heavily on technology they wouldn’t know when to take a break if they had to run paper logs. If every communication had to be over the phone? And how disgruntled would your drivers be if they couldn’t send their dispatchers’ instant messages?

Drivers want convenience. There’s nothing more convenient than an app that provides instant safety training. No more routing to the terminal. No more conference rooms. An online training platform grants access from anywhere in the world. Drivers have the opportunity to participate in safety training from the comfort of their sleepers.

Avoid Truck Driving Nuclear Verdicts

Looking to upgrade your training program? Our platform has it all:

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Click here to learn about the power of Infinit-I from our amazingly knowledgeable crew. In just a few minutes, we will show you how to transform your safety program so you can bring your A-game! 

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