Recently, Jeff Burns spoke at a Fleet Owner webinar entitled “Both Sides of the Legal Equation: An Insider’s Perspective on Fleet Safety.” Much of his presentation was featured in this “Strong Safety Culture is a Fleet’s Best Deterrent to Mega Verdicts” article in Fleet Owner.
The webinar and article make many great points about the overall safety of the trucking industry and effectively litigating truck crash cases. Here are a few of the highlights:
On the cost of truck crash litigation:
“Unless you have an insurance power of $25 to $50 million, most motor carriers are one catastrophic crash away from closing their doors.”
On safety and compliance:
“Compliance is the minimum standard that you can comply with to be legal,” Burns said. “That doesn’t mean that you’re safe. You can be fully compliant and still have a dangerous, dangerous operation that is a catastrophic crash waiting to happen.”
Safety is also not a platitude that leads every driver’s manual but becomes an afterthought during a just-in-time delivery. Burns said every manual given to him during the discovery phase of court proceedings preaches “safety is our highest priority” or “your number one job is safety,” but they don’t all practice that sentiment.
“It’s good to say that, but if it isn’t true, we can prove it,” Burns said. “And most of the time we prove that it’s a lie.”
Reasons for truck crashes:
Burns goes into detail about common reasons for truck crashes that include:
- Driver Fatigue