Industry News

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Preparing for the Trucking Industry’s Road to Success

By Chris Pavone

Trucking’s role in keeping goods, materials and the economy rolling during the global pandemic has been nothing short of phenomenal and will certainly play a role in re-establishing “normal” supply lines depleted by hoarding households and profiteering resellers. Hopefully, everyone in the trucking industry will soon be putting these challenging times in the rear-view mirror and some of America’s most essential workers will soon be able to finally take a break.

Unfortunately, the damage is still being assessed and the carnage it’s causing in the industry is not likely to abate soon. According to Ron Sterk, in Food Business News, for all modes, logistics has been at the center of disruption. Sterk explains that sharply reduced tonnage and redirection of shipping routes were just two of the most prominent ways transportation was disrupted while moving essential food and other items during the pandemic’s peak. Supply chain gears began to grind as lockdowns took hold in April. Ocean freight and rail shipments tumbled during the pandemic, notes Sterk, while truck tonnage initially surged and then plummeted.

Preparing for the Next Crisis

Are fleets and operators ready for the next crisis? Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s Marco Encinas encourages operators to evaluate preparedness and ready themselves to meet the next crisis to come down the road, viral or otherwise. With so many depending on trucking and freight transportation, Encinas recommends fleet managers get “extremely organized” to handle current and future industry needs and work diligently to foster closer communications and promote safety with drivers and customers.

  • Communication
    • The essential connectivity and data of telematics must be leveraged even more. Encinas says that being able to stay in constant communication with drivers—as well as knowing their locations at all times—allows fleet managers to make better, more informed decisions for all stakeholders.
  • Documentation
    • While logs are no longer mandatory to be kept, Encinas finds continuing to make notes and annotate the daily log (and noting non-compliance or similar excursions) is a good practice. Encinas also points out to facilitate the planning of loads and tasks, it is a good idea to integrate a route planner or add-on the service if it isn’t already included by the fleet owner’s telematics provider. In addition to the driver, accountability must include operations.
  • Maintenance
    • Drivers are putting in the extra miles and so are their rigs. Encinas warns that just because there is a global crisis, it’s no time to stop regular truck maintenance. In fact, maintenance should be stepped up and tracked more closely.
  • Driver Safety
    • Encinas, like most all in the industry, notes driver safety should be the top priority and a focus operationally on all fronts. This is not only a best practice to sustain business but overall reduces risk and supports business preparedness for the next crisis. It is a balancing act – to balance the need to be safe with the demands of operations.

Although the above list isn’t comprehensive, following those guidelines will help motor carriers be prepared for the next negative event. If a motor carrier utilizes solid safety and maintenance practices, leading to reduced accident costs and improved DOT compliance scores, those best practices will help them achieve long-term low cost when it comes time to renewal their insurance and risk management program.

AssuredPartners Transportation has consultative professionals who assist in delivering best practices to your operations. To learn more, visit AssuredPartners Transportation or contact our team of specialists.

Source: Supply & Demand Change Executive

SUI Corner: Investigating Staged Accidents

By Princess Spencer, Senior SIU Investigator

Staged accidents are a problem – one that’s on the increase. A Canal investigator recently participated in a meeting with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and defense attorneys regarding the training of the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) and Las Vegas police – both of which serve as the first line of defense.

Although staged accidents can happen anywhere in the U.S., the corridor between Las Vegas and California has been particularly hard hit with this crime, so there was much to learn from experts who face staged accidents with alarming regularity.

Given the trends, police are increasingly demanding immediate, onsite investigation of accidents to capture any suspect behavior. NICB agents are called to accident scenes 24/7. When multiple people from the same vehicle are involved, the police also insist on individual, face-to-face interviews, conducted separately to quickly identify any disparities between stories. Photos of each individual are also being taken at the accident scene itself to ensure the eventual claimant is the same as the person involved.

Identifying known patterns of behavior and instituting checks to recognize potential staging has been a positive first step in reversing recent trends. The insurance industry and law enforcement have created a strong partnership – but there’s a long way to go. These criminals can be remarkably brazen. Once one behavior is identified and added to the screening list, it seems new tactics are brainstormed. Regardless, Canal’s pledge to every insured is to continue accessing available resources, from law enforcement to legal counsel, so that we can provide carriers the accident investigation information they demand. Not only will this help insureds who are victimized by staging, it can also lead to quicker claim resolution for everyone and is yet another way Canal strives to deliver the best possible outcome.

Transformation Through Telematics: Creating a Safety-Focused Culture

By Gary Flaherty, Assistant Vice President, Risk Management Services

When talking safety, an extra set of eyes and ears is always a good thing. Of course, no company has the payroll to provide each driver an assistant, but telematic technology is turning into the next best thing. Using data from video event recorders and online monitoring tools not only tracks vehicle location and driver performance, but can also provide important points of dialogue between drivers and their companies. It offers an important line of defense should an accident occur, and identifies areas of needed training to potentially prevent accidents in the first place.

Telematics are, quite simply, one of the best ways drivers can identify issues now to prevent them from developing into entrenched bad habits. The tremendous insight that results is one of the main reasons Canal recommends telematics, and why we work with insureds to offer and manage such technology-based programs.

Tracking studies prove that telematics work – but management oversight is key. It’s not uncommon to see an immediate reduction in collision frequency and unsafe behavior soon after telematics are installed. But – if the assumption is installation is the only requirement for results, the true impact of telematics can be lost. It takes ongoing monitoring and follow up. It’s about gathering snapshots and creating patterns of behavior and then addressing them to create change and improvement. In the long run, a company-wide commitment to telematics can create a lasting positive safety culture, and when drivers are empowered to “own their own data” and utilize available training tools to improve, there is genuine opportunity to reduce unsafe driving and impact loss cost and loss frequency.

There’s likely more technology coming – safety tools we have yet to imagine – but for now, telematics prove the mark of a modern trucking company. And whether you’re already on board, or just now considering telematics, Canal is right beside you, ready to provide advice and guidance.