A transportation management system (TMS) can play an instrumental role in truckers’ safety management programs and fleet management programs.
But why is a TMS an essential tool for carriers’ overall safety and profitability—especially small-to-mid-sized truckload carriers?
Unfortunately, in part, because these trucking companies need to protect themselves.
Those who use a TMS with technology to document their safety management program and driver behavior have the best defense against lawsuits and know when they are at fault and should settle versus go to trial–key as the litigation rate skyrockets.
Small crash cases increasingly dominate U.S. trucking litigation
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) recently released a follow-up to its 2020 report, “The Impact of Nuclear Verdicts on the Trucking Industry.”
The new 2021 ATRI follow-up report investigates the impact of verdicts and settlements under $1 million on the trucking industry. The report notes that the proliferation of verdicts and settlements under $1 million over the last 20 years stems from loose state tort laws, negative public attitudes toward trucking, tighter legal restrictions in other industry sectors, litigation fraud, and growing coordination among plaintiff attorneys. In addition, the report notes that increasingly, attorneys participate in “ambulance chasing” and structure plaintiff firms as “settlement mills.”
ATRI’s dataset of +600 cases resulting in either a settlement or verdict award of less than $1 million shows:
- Settlement payments are ~37.7% larger than verdict awards and 393 percent more likely to occur in incidents involving a fatality.
- Incidents involving a severe injury were 217% more likely to settle and 199% more apt to result to pay plaintiffs over $600,000.
Another reason to address risk: Spiking insurance rates
The extreme litigation in the trucking industry is a problem for both insurers and trucking firms. Insurers are raising rates or reallocating capacity to other less risky sectors, and less insurance capacity places upward pressure on trucking rates.
With so much litigation, it’s wise to use technology like LoadOps, which can collect ELD data from engines, such as whether the driver stomped on the gas or brakes. ELDs also read mileage and even help with preventive maintenance.
Use data to improve your truckers’ safety management program
Use data collected from your ELD devices to improve your truckers’ safety management program and driver behavior. LoadOps connects to a variety of ELD devices and adds more integrations each month. Keep your drivers safe and fleet running in tip-top shape.