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Risk Management

By Doug Friel

March 25, 2019

width=300More boxes are being manufactured than ever before. Box companies are churning out their products to consumers at a rapid pace, and these increased sales have a major impact on the domestic supply chain. More sales lead to more deliveries, which lead to more trucks on the road than ever before. There is an increased demand for quality drivers, but there’s one issue: Unemployment rates are at an all-time low (yes, I just said that is an issue—let me explain).

Unemployment being at an all-time low means that all the quality drivers are already locked down with full-time trucking jobs. What’s left of the unemployed trucker pool are likely individuals with poor driving records, individuals with bad habits who can’t hold down a job, or recently released convicts trying to find employment. All are difficult employees to manage.

In this day and age, several arise that affect the quality of employees and the increasing risk of accidents on the road. Distracted driving is at an all-time high with everyone glued to their phones, texting, checking emails, or looking for directions. The legalization of cannabis is spreading like wildfire throughout the United States, and it’s more and more accessible. The legal consequences seem less and less stringent as well. A quick stat: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute jointly conducted a study and found that the states that first legalized the recreational use of cannabis have seen a 5.2 percent increase in auto crashes. There is no established method of measuring the impairment level of an individual using cannabis, which leaves employers to pre-employment or post-​accident drug screening as the only method of vetting their hires for use.

This significant increase in auto accidents causes a domino effect. Not only is frequency on the rise, but severity and the size of the settlements are up as well. All of this consequently causes an increase in auto insurance rates.

At this point you might be asking, “What can we do about this? How can we turn this around?” There are so many ways to reduce the risk that these problems present. Please consult your risk management partners for the best advice.

  • Safety training. There are many different types of training your company can adopt to better equip your drivers with knowledge and help them form good habits while simultaneously reducing the frequency of loss on the road. Drivers can be required to pass online training programs prior to getting behind the wheel. If you’re looking for more of a personal touch, insurance loss control experts can hold in-house formal training sessions with all the drivers to convey the information they need.
  • Drive-alongs. Loss-control experts can ride along with your drivers to ensure they are practicing safe habits and critique anything they feel the drivers should change, as well as reinforce positive behaviors.
  • Technology. Many insurance companies offer products that can track the performance of the driver. These products simply plug into the vehicle or cellphone of the driver and can analyze the speed of travel, hard stops, sudden turns, and any other red flags when it comes to driver performance.
  • Due diligence. You can set up driver criteria programs that can be utilized during the vetting or hiring process using motor vehicle reports to ensure your business is getting the best-quality drivers. This process can also be used throughout the year as you check up on your drivers.
  • Incentives. Offer incentives to your drivers for traveling X amount of accident-free miles (e.g., a $500 bonus for going 500,000 miles without an accident). You can also offer additional vacation days or give your best drivers access to the newest vehicles.

If you have any questions, please consult your risk-management professional.

width=150Doug Friel is vice president of Johnson, Kendall & Johnson. He can be reached at 215-579-6439 or