This is the third in a series of articles on how motor carriers can help avoid claims, including those that result in nuclear verdicts, by implementing and adhering to a strong safety and compliance program. Other trucking blogs can be viewed here.
The past two years have been perhaps more challenging than anyone could expect. A study by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) noted that longstanding issues, such as driver hiring and retention, and the rising cost of insurance due to lawsuit abuse and nuclear verdicts have continued to affect the industry.
As we settle into the new year, we are hopeful that we will see improvements in each of these areas so trucking companies can get back to doing what they do best: running a profitable operation and hauling freight to keep the nation moving.
Rather than waiting for these problems to resolve themselves, there are concrete steps you can take to improve your operation’s profitability. Recent studies by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) on nuclear verdicts and small 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.
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 Vehicles section, including the importance of pre- and post-trip driver inspections as well as the value of a tire maintenance program.
The CCQ asks motor carriers the following questions:
Many of the most common violations could be easily avoided by performing thorough pre- and post-trip inspections. While it may seem obvious, taking the time to educate your drivers on how to perform a proper vehicle inspection can save you time, money, and potential headaches down the line. Implementing a successful inspection and maintenance plan can also help you reduce liability in the event of an accident.
Acuity’s Motor Carrier Toolbox contains many helpful driver and management resources, such as the Driver’s Vehicle Inspection Report, which can be used as a sample for the pre- and post-trip inspections. You can find more information on safety and compliance in the Motor Carrier Toolbox under the FMCSA & CSA dropdown.
A tire maintenance program is also important to running a safe operation and preventing crashes. The FMCSA offers tips on tire safety to help with inspecting and maintaining your tires on a regular basis. If you need a refresher, this Acuity blog can answer questions on interpreting DOT tire identification.
In the next blog, we will discuss driver hiring and qualification to help ensure your company policies and procedures are clear and properly documented.
Have more questions on safety and compliance for your trucking operation? Check out other trucking-related resources we offer at Acuity to help grow your business safely and profitably!