Avoid a Nuclear Verdict by Utilizing Fleet Technology
In 2017, John Vaccaro, the president of Bettaway Beverage Distributors Inc., had been informed with news that no fleet owner wants to hear: “One of your drivers was involved in an out-of-state accident involving multiple vehicles and serious injuries.” Bettaway has never been the same after the accident.
Vaccaro knew that the Nuclear Verdict could reach up to $70 million for events like that. He was blessed, and after three years of nightmares and courts, the company was able to settle. There are essential lessons every supply chain specialist can learn from Vaccaro’s experience:
1. Always Maintain Your Fleet in Full DOT Compliance
Bettaway has been following the rules and it gave the company credibility in front of the courts – “truck, driver, and company were all in full DOT compliance with hours of service, and the equipment was found to be without defect.” Onboard technologies with pre & post-trip vehicle and equipment inspections as well as E-logs make it simple to stay within compliance.
2. Mandatory and Ongoing Safety Training
After the accident, Bettaway doubled down on drivers’ safety training and created drivers’ safety incentives (paying out cash safety bonuses). “We don’t want to catch them being bad. We want to make opportunities where we can catch them being good.” Driver Coaching and Driver Scorecard Applications (available with all Streamline ELDs) can be tailored to achieve this goal.
3. Establish a Strong and Clear Fleet Safety Manual and Follow It
Colangelo, director of jury consulting for Magna Legal Services, says that “good fleets are being proactive, thinking ahead to establishing good quality policies that do put safety first, and following through on those policies.” If the fleet safety manual lacks information or contains unclear wording, it could damage a defense. Texas defense attorney Glenn J. Fahl said fleets “should do a litigation drilldown of their manuals, so it won’t give the jury reason to doubt a fleet’s attention to safety.” “Revise it now, not after being tortured in a deposition on a bad case,” Colangelo said. The use of Safety Management Software can be of great help.
4. Leverage Vehicle Technologies
Have and actively use in-cab cameras and driver assistance technologies. Accidents could happen every day. Vaccaro says “How could you not choose to have collision avoidance on a truck? Whatever the expense, it was irrelevant. If you avoided one crash or one injury, it would be worth it.” At Streamline, we provide speed control driver assistance technology and camera solutions. For more information Contact Us.
Make a Change
As a fleet owner or manager, remember to keep the Safety First and use your technologies for your benefit. As Vaccaro says, “Don’t be scared of technology. Embrace it. Embrace the DriveCams. Embrace the collision avoidance. Embrace all of those things because if not, you’re not going to be in business. Either the insurance is going to take you down, or an accident’s going to take you down.”
Streamline Transportation Technologies Inc., an Arrow Company, is a leading provider of fleet management solutions for the transportation industry. Streamline combines telematics with advanced wireless and vehicle automation technologies to make vehicles safer, cleaner, and more productive. Streamline offers three major core products; Navistream™, an ELD and telematics platform, NaviLink®, an IoT vehicle gateway and active control system, and Degama, a Transportation Management Solution (TMS). The integration of the three platforms allows Streamline to offer a complete package of fleet solutions, customizable to any fleet size. For more information, visit stti.com.