Avoiding nuclear truck accident court verdicts

Avoiding Nuclear Verdicts by Improving Operational Safety & Compliance in Trucking: Driver Hiring & Qualification:  by Acuity Insurance

Driver hiring and qualification can be daunting in today’s economy. Truck drivers are in high demand, and it is increasingly difficult to find qualified drivers. This is nothing new—the commercial truck driver shortage has been an issue for over a decade and was named the most critical issue in the trucking industry in 2021 according to the American Transportation Research Institute.
 
Driver hiring and qualification can be daunting in today’s economy. Truck drivers are in high demand, and it is increasingly difficult to find qualified drivers. This is nothing new—the commercial truck driver shortage has been an issue for over a decade and was named the most critical issue in the trucking industry in 2021 according to the American Transportation Research Institute.

Truck drivers have a tough job that could place them at the center of a lawsuit in the event of an accident. Studies on nuclear verdicts have shown that adhering to safety and operational policies is essential to staying out of court and avoiding liability in the event of an accident. Motor carriers must support drivers and protect their own businesses by ensuring that drivers are properly qualified and files are maintained in accordance with regulations.

The FMCSA Carrier Compliance Questionnaire (CCQ) provides a helpful checklist to review your operations and identify areas where you can improve. In this article, we will focus on the Drivers section of the questionnaire, which asks questions and includes links relating to the following items (among others):

  • Company policies on driver hiring criteria and practices
  • FMCSA pre-employment screening program
  • Recordkeeping for CDL licenses, employment applications, medical certificates, qualification files, and road test certificates
  • Company policies on reviewing MVRs, reporting violations, driver disqualifying, and reinstatement

That’s a lot to unpack. However, taking time to go through your records and company policies now will save you time and money in the long run—especially if it means staying out of the courtroom. Keeping your company policies clear, transparent, and well documented also shows your drivers that you are committed to safety and have their backs in the event of an accident.

Acuity’s Motor Carrier Toolbox contains many helpful resources, such as the Driver Qualification File Checklist, Required Record Retention, Annual Driver’s Certification of Violations, Annual Review of Driving Records, and Driver Employment Application. You can find these resources and more under the Human Resources & Truck Drivers dropdown.

In the next blog, we will discuss additional driver issues, such as hours of service, controlled substances and alcohol, and corrective action.

Have more questions about safety and compliance for your trucking operation? Check out Acuity’s Trucking Blog or other trucking-related resources we offer to help grow your business safely and profitably, or contact Beck Insurance Agency at 419-446-2777, email us at help@beckinsurance.com, or click here.