False Accusations Abound!

bad1The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws. — Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome

The more laws and restrictions, there are, the poorer people become. The more rules and regulations, the more thieves and robbers. Lev Kopelev

“You Were Texting and Not Wearing a Seat Belt.”

A while back a truck driver was pulled over, the reason given was for texting and not wearing a seat belt.

When shown a video tape that these allegations in fact, did not occur, the arresting officer (yes— when you’re given a ticket or citation in lieu of arrest, this is sometimes called a “warrantless arrest” or an arrest without warrant ), decided to issue a clean North American Standard Level III Driver/Credential Inspection (which includes the seat belt), saying he had decided “I am going to let you go.”

The truck driver was perplexed. What if no video was available? What might have happened if the existence of the video was not made known?

And how many more times that day were similar citations issued to undeserving truck drivers? How many would fight them?

Lunch Money

One of the finest truck driving instructors I worked with was an old Teamster who at one time delivered beer to Chicago. Charlie had over forty years of truck driving experience and was a fountain of knowledge and knew all of the facts of life about truck driving.

Back in his day, when Charlie went through Chicago he had to fold a $10 bill (worth about $50 in today’s dollars) called “lunch money” and clip it to his driver’s license with a paper clip. Every time he was stopped by local authorities, he would get his license back and the “lunch money” would be gone.

Lesson’s Learned

The driver in the beginning of the blog learned a valuable lesson: As a truck driver one can be accused at any time of the most outrageous violations. Be prepared.

The driver immediately stopped at the next exit and removed all electronic devices from the dash: GPS, cell phone, electronic logging tablet, etc.

Event Recorders

A big selling point for “Video Event Recorders” that capture real-time video and sometimes other data in the course of an event, incident, or accident, is the video can be used to defend a driver against false claims. Lytx says in 80% of collisions, it’s not the truck driver’s fault. Swift has agreed to install Lytx DriveCam recorders on thousands of power units.

Verizon makes similar defense claims about their Networkfleet’s vehicle tracking diagnostics, as does Telogis.

Accusations Abound

Everyday fleets and their drivers are accused of all sorts of things ranging from stone damage to glass, to vehicle or property damage.

1. Take all reports seriously. In the case of stone damage, unless unsecured rocks were falling off of the back of the vehicle, there is not much relief warranted — especially in the instance of vehicles following too closely. Other the other hand, further investigation may reveal bad judgment and choices on part of the driver. Have a system in place to capture and respond to these types of events.

2. Take advantage of new technology. There are opportunities to deploy new accident avoidance systems to avoid trouble and accident recording devices to help defend against claims. Some insurance companies may reduce premiums for installing these devices.

3. Protect your reputation. Protecting your reputation has been called by some a critical job skill. There is endless business pressure to cut corners, “bend the rules,” and take shortcuts. Nobody is immune from this pressure. Good risk management teaches us to be aware of catastrophic risk — a risk that might have the potential to inflict serious damage. Breaking and bending the rules, and taking shortcuts can result in catastrophic outcomes, no matter how good the intentions.

Thank you for reading this.

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