ATRI released its study of "less than nuclear" verdicts and claims. The result provides insights as to the evaluation of these far more numerous claims. While individually less catastrophic than nuclear verdicts, these claims hemorrhage our industry daily.
So, what are the key takeaways from the report?
Be Willing to Try Cases
The looming specter of a nuclear verdict has created a fear to take cases to trial. Statistically, even before this nuclear era, only 5-10% of lawsuits were decided by trial. I believe it even less now.
"Trial trepidation" is the product of concerns that a runaway verdict will close a trucking company or end an insurance career. In fact, in "The Reptile Theory" espouses a mediation tactic of confronting an insurance adjuster with the career-ending impact of misevaluating a case and failing to settle.
Are trials a risk? To an extent, yes. Should all cases go to trial? Not necessarily.
But MUST all cases settle before trial? Absolutely not. Doing so will send a message that you will cave, no matter how outrageous the demand. And, as we know, word gets around.
In order to avoid hefty fines and stay in compliance, you need to stay informed on the DOT Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse going into 2022. We’ll help you navigate the murky waters of this Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulation.
What Is The Drug And Alcohol Clearinghouse?
The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is an online database that provides employers, the FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and State law enforcement personnel with real-time information about CDL driver drug and alcohol program violations. The goal is to reduce accidents that result from intoxicated driving.
While we often preach that compliance does not equal safety, rules and regulations that prevent driving under the influence are extremely important. Fleet owners only stand to succeed as a company if they strictly enforce them. That, in part, is what the drug and alcohol Clearinghouse intends to do - make it easy for employers to track and enforce violations.
What Do You Need to Know?
Of course, as beneficial as the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse can be, it may prove to be burdensome. Rules and regulations like this can penalize companies if they don’t follow them exactly by the books.
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) unveiled their much anticipated annual Top Industry Issues late last month. While the headlines focused on the familiar carrier concerns of the driver shortage, driver retention, and driver compensation, we would like to dive a little deeper and focus on concerns that both drivers and motor carriers share.
ATRI calculates ranks top issues based on a survey asking respondents to choose and rank their top three concerns from a list of 30 choices. This year’s survey collected the opinions of over 2,500 industry stakeholders, 52% of which were motor carrier personnel and 24% were drivers, meaning motor carrier opinions tend to carry the day. Fortunately, ATRI also reports drivers’ responses separately, allowing insight into issues both carriers and drivers care about. This year, however, there is a very interesting overlap: driver compensation.
For drivers, driver compensation ranked as the number one concern. For motor carries, driver compensation was the fifth most important concern. Obviously, they’re each coming at this from very different perspectives. Drivers are demanding higher pay, while motor carriers are anxious about the ballooning cost of drivers.