Freight Theft, truck crashes and driver injuries
It’s rare to turn on the TV, listen to a podcast or visit a streaming service, and NOT see an add for a law firm that brings lawsuits against trucking companies. It’s not hard to guess why these firms exist; trucking companies have lots of moving parts, and big insurance policies to cover themselves when things go wrong. On the other hand, you rarely see snow cone stands at the county fair being sued, because there’s not a lot of money to be had.
Even owner operators have to carry lots of insurance, because when that 80,000-pound vehicle gets into an accident they’re most like seen as the instigator even when they’re not. Why? Because there’s supposed to be a professional driver behind the wheel, and that professional is not supposed to make mistakes. Their truck better be in tip-top condition, with good brakes and no bald tires. Doesn’t matter if that car that caused the accident had three bad tires, and the driver had a suspended license and no insurance.
Other than worrying about being sued, there’s the aspect that your driver could be incapacitated or worse, the other driver(s) might be injured, your truck taken out of service, the damage to personal property etc. These things will quickly add up.
You might ask, “What’s the answer then?” Having a well-rounded risk management team can make all the difference. Conduct a risk analysis on your whole process; from the time a driver is dispatched, through tractor check-out and load pick-up. Are your drivers getting enough rest? Is the equipment up to par? Is the load available in a reasonable time for the driver to get there safely? These all have to do with the culture you institute; whether you are the owner operator or fleet owner.
Next, you can use tools, such as technology to help ease the burden, but don’t rely on that alone. If the map program you are using indicates a drive of so many miles and estimating so many hours, do you allow for the “what if’s” that occur every day? Remember, the further that driver is from the pick-up, the more things can go wrong.
If possible, work with your customers to allow for an earlier or later pick-up if possible. Help your driver find the safest/convenient spot to take a break or sleep, so they don’t have to try to figure all of that out while they’re driving.