How Nurse Triage Can Lower Your Claim Cost

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In the space of a year, freight drivers will spend tens of thousands of hours behind the wheel transporting and delivering goods. Logically, that much time spent driving increases the odds that they will be in a motor vehicle accident or get injured on the job. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 116,000 injury crashes involving large trucks or buses in 2017 alone. Although that figure merits surprise on its own, it fails to account for the millions of smaller injuries that occur annually from simply doing the job. 

As a trucking carrier, it’s your duty to provide employees with worker’s compensation and an avenue for making injury claims. Knowing that the faster an injury claim can be completed, the lower the costs of the claim will be, it’s essential that you do everything in your power to expedite that claims process. One way you can do this is by utilizing TPIA’s instant claim reporting program. Below, we’ll describe the claim process then detail how the program will immediately put a defensive team together to get your employee back on their feet and lower claim costs: 

Freight Injury Claims

There are three primary injuries that occur to drivers in the line of duty. They are:

  • Accidents – Typically, driving accidents result in the most serious of injuries, ranging from minor bumps and bruises to traumatic and permanent injuries including:

    • Bain injuries

    • Herniated disks

    • Broken bones

    • Sprains

    • Strains

    • Neck and shoulder issues

    • Death

  • Repeated stress over extended periods of time – Navigating in a stationary position for tens of thousands of hours per year can lead to lingering injuries particularly in the wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders, neck, and back. 

  • Unloading and loading – Drivers that help move cargo are especially vulnerable to injuries during these activities. This is particularly true for those drivers that repeatedly move awkwardly shaped cargo without being given proper equipment. 

If your driver experiences one of these injuries while on the job, they are legally encouraged to make an injury claim without fear of being fired for the claim. Educate your drivers as to the following:

  • Accidents – If your driver is involved in an accident, encourage them to take the following steps:

    • Call 911 if immediate medical attention is needed.

    • Report the accident to your head office for a hands-on direction.

    • Take plenty of pictures of the scene of the accident.

    • Obtain witness information. 

    • Call the TPIA claim line. 

  • Report the injury right away – If you utilize independent contractors, you may not have much direct contact with your drivers for long periods of time. Despite this, it’s essential that you let them know who they can contact if they are injured. 

Additionally, create a strict guideline wherein injuries need to be reported immediately. As mentioned, lost time can have a massive impact on the final claim cost, so encourage your drivers to get the process going immediately. Additionally, the cost of a claim directly impacts the cost of worker’s compensation insurance, so it behooves you to try and keep both costs down. 

How Nurse Triage Can Lower Your Claim Cost

In order to lower claim costs, TPIA created a claim reporting line that is a recorded line with a medical nurse who also documents the claim for reporting to the insurer. This system essentially acts as a 24/7 injury hotline. When an injury occurs, your driver calls the TPIA  1-800 number in order to speak with a trained nurse. From there, the nurse can direct the driver to self administer first aid or recommend a carrier-designated medical care facility. 

At the conclusion of the call, the claim is immediately reported to the trucking carrier, TPIA, the insurance company, and the treating medical facility.  Benefits of this include:

  • Cuts down lag (reporting time to the insurer). 

  • Reduces the litigation rate. 

  • Collates evidence and documentation to prevent fraud.

  • Cuts down indirect bottom line costs. 

  • Provides employers with a simple and cheap way to report injuries that occur from or during work. 

  • Signals to employees that you care about their health and safety.

  • Puts employees in insured networks and helps them avoid expensive ER visits.

  • Helps the carrier gather information and data regarding injuries and accidents.

Trucking Proud

As a trucking carrier, it’s important that you understand and acknowledge that workplace injuries are part of the business. Because of that, it’s crucial that you do everything in your power to protect your employees and take care of those that do get injured on the job. Taking action such as utilizing the TPIA claim reporting program will provide you with the dual benefits of happy and healthy employees and lower claim costs. 

That’s a win-win for your freight company. 

Sources 

FMCSA. Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2017. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2017

Lile, C. Trucking Info. 3 Things Drivers Need to Do in Workers’ Comp Claims. (2014). https://www.truckinginfo.com/155763/3-things-drivers-need-to-do-in-workers-comp-claims


Truck Wreck Justice. Injured Dirving a Truck? Here are 3 Things You Need to Know. (2018). https://www.truckwreckjustice.com/injured-driving-truck-3-things-need-know/

Post Trip Inspections: Your New Secret Weapon

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If you’re the owner of a fleet, optimization needs to be your mantra. You want a business that’s a well-oiled, efficient machine. Doing so reduces costs, increases output and profit, and removes much of the uncertainty that surrounds the freight industry. Naturally, there are steps your drivers can take to help your fleet continue to raise the bar. One such measure that they should be performing with each drive is the Driver’s Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR). Also known as a post-trip inspection, a DVIR is one of the simplest ways you can reduce liability and increase efficiency. 

You might read this and think, but aren’t DVIRs already mandatory? The answer to that is yes; however, it’s also one of the most common areas where drivers fail to comply. So, if you wish to prevent that, take the following measures to ensure that your fleet is following safety standards. 

Post-Trip Inspections: Your New Secret Weapon

According to 49 CFR § 396.11, titled the Driver vehicle inspection report(s), motor carriers are obligated to have their drivers prepare a written vehicle report at the end of each workday. The report is meant to detail the condition of parts and accessories and make note of any glaring issues. 

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the law states

“No commercial motor vehicle shall be driven unless the driver is satisfied that the following parts and accessories are in good working order, nor shall any driver fail to use or make use of such parts and accessories when and as needed: Service brakes, including trailer brake connection, parking (hand) brake, steering mechanism, lighting devices and reflectors, tires, horn, windshield wiper or wipers, rear-vision mirror or mirrors, coupling devices, wheels and rims, emergency equipment.”

Despite the fact that this has been a rule for years, failure to perform a proper post-trip inspection is one of the most commonly cited violations that occur during audits. It’s easy to understand why this occurs:

  • Tired drivers – After a long day driving, often, the last thing your driver wants to do is spend an additional 30 minutes inspecting their vehicle. They make the false assumption that if the truck was running flawlessly, then there would be no need for repairs.   The TPIA inspection will also greatly reduce inspection time (see below). 

  • The notion that the pre-trip check will cover it – Employee drivers shouldn’t lose any money if their truck doesn’t run since that falls on the carrier. As a result, they’re often willing to let the driver responsible for the pre-trip inspection make note of any issues. 

In addition, they may be lazier about their inspection. They might go through the motions without performing as thorough a check as they should since they know the pre-trip check can flag any glaring issues.

Benefits of Post-Trip Inspections 

Encouraging your drivers to comply with the rules has several benefits to your fleet operation. These include: 

  • Decrease your liability – Failure to comply with legal requirements can result in serious liability issues. For instance, these types of crashes can leave your freight company vulnerable to serious liability issues:

    • Bodily harm;

    • Property damage; and

    • Death

  • Increase efficiency – Few things ruin a carrier’s credibility more than shipping delays. If a truck breaks down or needs to be in the shop for repairs (particularly repairs that could’ve been avoided had they been pointed out earlier), your entire operation slows down. Nipping issues in the bud ensures that fixes can be made immediately. 

Also, pointing out small issues saves you money on repairs since it is more cost-effective to have minor maintenance and patch-ups than it is to replace parts or vehicles wholesale. 

  • Keeps you in compliance – If your drivers repeatedly fail to perform and log their post-trip inspections, your company will inevitably receive compliance safety and accountability (CSA) violations during audits. Violations can result in any of the following consequences:

    • Increase the frequency of audits on your business

    • Raise your insurance rates

    • Make it harder to entice high-quality drivers to work for you

    • Decrease trust in your operation 

How TPIA Helps You Optimize Post-Trip Inspections 

Seeing that this continues to be a glaring issue for carriers, TPIA sought a way to optimize post-trip inspections. They found their solution in the form of a mobile post-trip inspection application. This app allows drivers to go through a streamlined post-trip checklist—taking pictures of each part—instead of having to make physical notations of glaring issues. In fact, many trucking carriers start with a streamlined version that verifies the five most important items are inspected: 

  1. Trailer hook securely fastened in fifth wheel

  2. Tread depth of tires acceptable

  3. Brakes properly adjusted

  4. All lights in working condition

  5. Placard positioning appropriate

Benefits of using the app include:

  • Speeds up the process

  • Consolidates reports in one place

  • Removes needless paperwork and documentation 

The TPIA app has brought DVIRs into the 21st century. So, take advantage of this new secret weapon by requiring your drivers to download and use the app. It’ll optimize your logistics and ensure smooth sailing.  

Sources

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. 49 CFR Parts 392 and 396. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Final%20Rule_DVIR_2_0_09-12-14.pdf

Rudick, Z. Fleetio. Safety and Compliance: Navigating the Complex World of DVIRs. (2017). https://www.fleetio.com/blog/safety-and-compliance-dvirs

Colley, J. Whip Around. What is DVIR (Driver Vehicle Inspection Report)? (2018). https://www.whip-around.com/blog/what-is-a-dvir-driver-vehicle-inspection-report

The (Unlikely) Key to Increasing Fleet Efficiency

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When it comes to running a shipping fleet, efficiency is the name of the game. Every chance you can take to make your operation run smoother, quicker, and with fewer missteps will increase output and drive revenue. While you may have already taken the usual steps necessary to increase your fleet’s proficiency, there may be one seemingly small but vital task you’re overlooking—post-trip inspections.

Below, we’ll discuss the importance of post-trip inspections and then explain how TPIA’s application can help streamline and optimize this process. 

49 CFR § 396.11 - Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports

Even though post-trip inspection reports, also known as Driver’s Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR), have been mandatory for a number of years, failure to do so remains one of the most regularly noted violations discovered upon compliance review. According to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Subtitle B, Chapter III, Part 396—Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance: 

“Every motor carrier shall require its drivers to report, and every driver shall prepare a report in writing at the completion of each day's work on each vehicle operated, except for intermodal equipment tendered by an intermodal equipment provider.”

Drivers are expected to perform a post-trip check the following: 

  • Coupling devices

  • Emergency equipment 

  • Horns

  • Lighting devices

  • Parking brake

  • Rear vision mirrors

  • Reflectors

  • Service brake

  • Steering mechanism

  • Tires

  • Trailer brake connections

  • Wheels and rims

  • Windshield Wipers

According to laws, freight operators are required to highlight any defect or deficient parts or accessories that might impact the safety of driving the vehicle or cause the truck to malfunction and/or breakdown—this must be done at least once every 24 hours. Upon discovery of an issue, a carrier is required to take corrective action. 

The (Unlikely) Key to Increasing Fleet Efficiency

Post-trip inspections are key to making sure your fleet is ready to roll come morning time.  As we know, frequent driving, especially over long distances, tends to lead to damage or wear-and-tear over time.  Even an accident-free drive can result in parts failing. Breakdowns can lead to a host of problems including:

  • Delays – If the vehicle fails to pass a pre-trip inspection, the truck will be sidelined until repairs are made. Highlighting it the night before gives you the ability to immediately fix issues, order parts, and avoid further delays. 

  • Increased maintenance costs – Fixing a minor issue is much cheaper than allowing it to fester and become a larger problem. Patching a leak in the suspension is far smaller cost than completely replacing it wholesale or losing the whole truck because of a crash caused by a suspension failure. 

  • Increased liability – If you fail to comply with safety codes and standards and an employee or innocent driver on the road suffers harm as a result, you open your entire company up to potential liability. Just one unsafe labor practice lawsuit could completely destroy your entire freight business. 

    • Law enforcement

    • Insurance companies

    • Shippers

    • Employers

They can be used to gauge the riskiness and safety of your fleet. A good score results in fewer audits, more trust, better drivers, and lower insurance rates.

Simply put, vehicle inspections can save you time, money, and lives. 

Post-Trip Vehicle Inspections With TPIA

Typically, a post-trip inspection will take at least 30 minutes and cover 50+ items in order to satisfy safety standards. Seeing this, TPIA’s mobile application sought to streamline the process and increase the accuracy and reporting methods. 

But how do you use it to increase the efficiency of post-trip inspections? It’s simple. First, your drivers will have to go to the “Client Portal” on their smartphone. From there, they can use the “Truck Inspection Application.” This allows them to go through an efficient process wherein they quickly take photos of all the parts and accessories. This accomplishes the following:

  • Creates a uniform set of pictures detailing the condition of the truck. 

  • Eliminates the need for written documents and record keeping.

  • Centralizes all reports so that retrospective reviews can be made to ensure accuracy or note damages. 

  • Speeds up the entire process and makes it easy for fleet operators to verify damages without needing to physically inspect the vehicles in person. 

Increasing Your Fleet’s Efficiency

One of the easiest ways to optimize your freight business is to increase efficiency. Ensuring that your operators fill out Driver’s Vehicle Inspection Reports is one unlikely way you can do that. In order to facilitate your efforts, the TPIA app has modernized the entire process. 

So, encourage your drivers to download and begin using the app every day. Doing this will save you time, money, and lives. 

Sources

Cornell Law. 49 CFR § 396.11 - Driver vehicle inspection report(s). https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/396.11

Robinson, J. Fleetio. CSA Scores: Effects on Your Fleet and How to Improve. (2017). https://www.fleetio.com/blog/csa-scores-effects-on-fleet-how-to-improve

Part380. Safe Vehicle Inspection Protocol. (2014). http://part380.com/blog/tag/post-trip-inspection/

What Owner Operators Should Do Following The Dynamex Decision

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In early 2019, California legislators pushed through labor legislation what many business analysts suggest will have a negative impact on the freight industry as a whole. At the heart of Bill AB-5, referred to as the Dynamex Decision, is an attempt to quash a freight company’s ability to outsource independent contractors to handle tasks that go beyond the purview and/or scope of their traditional business model. 

Despite protests from the California Trucking Association, the pro-labor bureaucrats in Sacramento have pushed along the Dyanmex Decision, consequences are damned. As a result, this change to independent contract status could have negative impacts on your business, particularly if you don’t meet compliance. Therefore, it’s essential that you take the steps to align your business with this new legislation or else face fines. To help you avoid such consequences, TPIA will discuss the decision and outline what you need to do to meet compliance. 


Read on to find out what those steps are.

The Dynamex Decision 

Dynamex Operations West Inc. v Superior Court was a labor interest battle that used the ABC test to claim that all workers, including independent contractors, would be considered employees and thus be protected by California’s wage laws. This meant that they would be guaranteed:

  • Overtime pay

  • Meal and rest breaks

  • Minimum wage guarantees 

This ruling failed to account for the fact that the vast majority of smaller owner-operator freight companies wouldn’t pass a strict ABC test due to their reliance on independent contracting in order to compete with larger companies. According to Laura Curtis, a policy advocate who opposed the decision:

“Failure to add exemptions could eliminate the majority of independent contractors in California. This not only hurts the business model of a broad swath of industries and billions of venture capital dollars that are increasingly invested in the business, but also it hinders California as a national leader in the innovation economy.”

As has been the case with minimum wage laws, which forced small businesses to eliminate jobs or reduce employee hours, this ruling will have “unintended consequences” that impact the very people they’re intended to help, particularly minority-owned businesses. For example, Swift has already abandoned the use of owner-operators in California in order to avoid potential liability. 

What Trucking Carriers Should Do Following The Dynamex Decision

Naturally, if your operation utilizes owner-operators of 10,000+ lbs. trucks, you might be worried about the ramifications this decision could have on your business. TPIA understands your concerns and is partnering with Sheppard Mullin to audit our client’s:

  • IC Contracts

  • DMV Motor Carrier Permits

  • US DOT


Our goal is to help you avoid unexpected fines as well as retroactive fines. So, in order to avoid employee misclassification, you need to ensure that your workers meet the three criteria to be categorized as an independent contractor: 

  1. The worker must be free from control and direction of the hiring entity.

  2. The work performed must be outside the usual course of the hiring entity's business.

  3. The worker must be engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business.

Criteria #2 is where the vast majority of owner-operators will run into trouble since driving trucks lies at the very heart of a trucking company’s business model. Shawn Yadon, CEO of the California Trucking Association, had this to say about the issues this ruling raise:

“Owner-operators are integral to the trucking industry and many of today’s largest trucking companies started with just a single truck. Not only is the new ‘A-B-C’ test, set by the Dynamex decision, to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor unconstitutional, but its implementation and enforcement will also deprive the next generation of truckers the entrepreneurial opportunity to grow.”

So, what can you do to protect yourself? To start, TPIA suggests you take three actions:

  1. Add a brokerage to your operations – This allows you to circumvent the rules by separating trucking operations from lease owner operations. 

  2. Have leased-on drivers obtain their own MC numbers – This grants drivers their own MC and DOT numbers, state and federal permits, and allows them to further avoid the employee classification requirements. 

  3. Independent drivers procure their own insurance - This further separates your business entity from the driver and helps establish that the driver is acting as a sole proprietor. 

Besides these steps, TPIA will work tirelessly with you to ensure that you can continue business as usual. Rest assured that we’ll notify you as to any changes to the decision or alternative solutions that you can employ.  

Moving Forward

Trucking Proud Insurance Agency wants to help trucking carriers avoid the negative ramifications of the Dynamex Decision. Going forward, we will work with you to ensure that you meet these evolving compliance issues. 

If you have further questions or concerns, reach out and we’ll be more than happy to assist you. 

Sources

Zwahlen, C. Trucks. New Labor Rulings Favor Motor Carriers Operating in California. (2019). https://www.trucks.com/2019/05/15/trucker-labor-rulings-california-dynamex/

Pitz, P. DAT. End of Owner-Operators in California? (2019). https://www.dat.com/blog/post/end-of-owner-operators-in-california

HDT. California Truckers Sue to Prevent Application of Dynamex Driver Wage Decision. (2018). 

https://www.truckinginfo.com/317798/california-truckers-sue-to-prevent-application-of-dynamex-driver-wages-decision

Jaillet, J. Overdrive. California lawmakers proceeding with bill that imperils owner-operator model. (2019). https://www.overdriveonline.com/calif-lawmakers-proceeding-with-bill-that-imperils-owner-operator-model/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=07-14-2019&utm_campaign=Overdrive&ust_id=[-MD5-]

The Mistakes That Could Cost Your Company Millions: Understanding The Importance of Complying With The Labor Code Under PAGA

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Is there a worse feeling than having to pay a fine for breaking a law you didn’t even know you were breaking? Due to a recent uptick in lawsuits filed under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), claims filed related to labor code violations, several California companies are becoming familiar with the feeling. 

And because California’s labor code features myriad complexities, your company could be next. Read on for an overview PAGA, why it’s become all the rage with disgruntled employees, and how you can prevent your trucking company from getting swept up beneath it.

A Brief History of PAGA

PAGA was incorporated into California state law in 2004 as part of the state’s effort to compensate for its minimal resources in enforcing California’s labor code. 

In essence, PAGA protects statewide employees, both current and former, by enabling them to serve as their own private attorney when they believe that their employer has violated the state's labor code.

PAGA’s popularity experienced a dramatic surge on the heels of the following court rulings:

  • 2009 – The California Supreme Court rules that many of the strict requirements for filing class-action lawsuits don’t apply to suits under PAGA, making it ridiculously easy for PAGA claims to be tacked onto class action claims.

  • 2014 – The state high court rules that previously executed arbitration agreements don’t apply to PAGA. This resulted in an unprecedented boost in PAGA-only claims.

  • 2017 – The California Supreme Court rules that employees filing PAGA claims are entitled to full cooperation from the employer in providing information upon request. Most companies prefer to avoid the staggering litigation costs this entails altogether by settling out of court early in the litigation process.

  • 2018 – A state appellate court adjusted a PAGA provision to allow PAGA plaintiffs affected by one or more labor code violations to file claims for other labor code violations, even if the plaintiff wasn’t affected directly by them. This means that there’s nothing stopping a disgruntled employee from tossing proverbial labor code violation spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks.

Why PAGA Lawsuits Are Destructive

With PAGA lawsuits, the litigation costs alone will put a massive dent in your bottom line. But PAGA claims really begin to hurt when the court rules in favor of the employee, as this results in you having to pay damages to:

  • The individual(s) who filed the claim

  • The state, which recovers 75% of the total penalties

  • And (here’s the kicker) every employee on your staff at the time the PAGA claim was filed receives a cut, whether they participated in the claim or not

Depending on the violation, penalties range from $100 to $200 per employee at the time of the alleged violation.

Encouraged by his experience as president of a company that was hit with a PAGA lawsuit, Tom Manzo started the California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA). He believes:

“The Private Attorneys General Act takes everything dysfunctional about California's 1,000 plus page labor code and allows plaintiffs' attorneys to weaponize it. Our lawmakers need to realize small business owners cannot afford such excessive fines and penalties over a late lunch, a typo on a pay stub, or other minor violations that carry big consequences.”

Today, the CABIA is suing the state over PAGA lawsuits and asking it to enforce its own labor laws. Learn more about the CABIA’s work by visiting their website: www.cabia.org.

What Constitutes a Violation of California’s Labor Code?

A former or current California employee may file a PAGA claim if their employer has failed to do one or more of the following:

  • Provide Regularly Scheduled Breaks – This includes providing daily lunch breaks of at least thirty minutes.

  • Provide Proper Sick Leave – Depending on the number of employees on staff, companies may also be required to provide special leave for new parents, organ donors, members of the US Military, and victims of domestic violence or stalking.

  • Pay Employees Minimum Wage – The minimum wage may be upped in regions where the cost of living is higher, such as in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

  • Calculate Overtime Pay and/or Bonuses Properly – California state law stipulates that employees must be paid overtime whenever they work in excess of eight hours in one workday, 40 hours in one workweek, or seven consecutive days. And if more than one of these applies in a given workweek, the employer is required to pay whichever rate gives the employee a better payoff.

  • Provide Suitable Seating Arrangements – This is currently a hotly debated topic in California law. While it’s intended to apply to any job in which the nature of the work lends itself to sitting, there’s a tricky gray area for industries like retail and banking. In these, employees typically stand while working but aren’t required to do so.

  • Providing Commuter Benefits – This applies to companies located in large urban areas.

  • Providing Paychecks Promptly – In California, when an employee is fired, they must be issued a paycheck immediately upon termination of employment.

An Additional Note for Fleet Managers

In some industries, employers are required to regulate prevention of injury and cell phone use while driving. This leaves fleet managers in the transportation industry with yet another potential labor code violation to worry about.

Experts on PAGA Law

In many of the scenarios listed above, it’s easy to see how an employer could violate California’s labor code by way of an honest mistake. This is especially true of fleet managers. With your employees constantly on the road, it’s extremely difficult to track things like breaks and overtime pay.

Thankfully, at the Trucking Proud Insurance Agency, we have resources that are experts on PAGA law, and we’re on your side. Count on us to help you ensure that your daily operation is free of potential labor code violations and the hefty fines that come with them.

Sources

“5 Important Steps to Protect Yourself from a PAGA Lawsuit” by Annie Pilon

https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/10/paga-lawsuit.html

“More California Employers are Getting Hit with PAGA Claims” by Jonathan Janove

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/pages/more-california-employers-are-getting-hit-with-paga-claims.aspx

“California Labor Laws: What Small Business Need to Know” by Laura Handrick

https://fitsmallbusiness.com/california-labor-laws/

Is Your Transportation Company Capturing The Most Impactful Driver Behavior Data to Effectively Mitigate Risks

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As a fleet manager, no matter how many times you review safe-driving guidelines with your drivers in person, you can’t go with them on their route to supervise their driving and enforce safety standards. Or can you? Cutting edge driver data technology from industry leader, Netradyne, enables fleet managers to see their trucks in action and understand precisely what’s going on around them. 

Read on to learn how this extraordinary innovator in driver data technology can help your company save money, eliminate the worry of false claims, and most importantly, ensure the safety of your drivers on the road.

Why Driver Data is Important

Being aware of both the habits of your drivers and the incidents they experience during their route is essential to your fleet management operation for several reasons:

  • It Cuts Fuel Costs – Idling for extended periods of time, accelerating rapidly, and slamming on the brakes of a truck all share one thing in common. They’re big-time gas guzzlers. Course-correcting all the above with your drivers will save you truckloads on fuel costs, especially as gas prices continue to rise.

  • It Saves You Money on Insurance – The more frequently your drivers complete a route safely without any issues, the better your chances of scoring a lower insurance rate with a trucking insurance company. If your drivers maintain clean driving records, it also greatly reduces the cost of insurance claims if an incident does occur.

  • It Could Prevent Serious Consequences – Short of an alien spaceship landing on the highway, trucks are the largest moving objects on the road. And as such, they’re the most dangerous. When you’re able to give your drivers specific instructions about what not to do behind the wheel, you encourage safe driving habits that mitigate the risk of future harmful, perhaps even fatal, accidents.

The Major Problem With Using Standard GPS’s to Collect Driver Data

Many fleet managers rely on standard GPS tracking systems to collect driving data. And that’s a crucial mistake.

Why? Because most GPS units are programmed to capture “change of inertia”—circumstances like hard braking, lane departure, and collisions. But without a video component, standard GPS users are left with a whole bunch of stats and zero context to shed light on them.

How Netradyne is Changing The Game

The Trucking Proud Insurance Agency utilizes cutting-edge fleet management software from Netradyne, the first driving technology to combine artificial intelligence with high-tech video and intuitive onboard sensors. With Netradyne, you can capture the full driving experience to bring you meaningful, comprehensive data.

Whereas most driver technology platforms are only capable of uploading videos to the Cloud for later viewing, Netradyne’s signature Driveri technology platform can process data in real-time. Plus, it comes with up to 100 hours of storage. This enables you to observe your drivers in real-time and experience their route almost as if you’re riding shotgun next to them. 

But Driveri offers far more than just live video. It also comes equipped with the following features:

  • Portal – The Driveri Portal brings you valuable, real-time metrics about your drivers’ following distance behind other cars on the road, their response to traffic signals, and their current driving conditions—including details as minute as the texture of the road. The Portal also sends both you and your drivers customizable instant alerts. This lets you choose which specific actions you want to focus on with your drivers. Talk about painting a complete picture.

  • 360-Degree View – Driveri’s cameras provide a live view through the driver’s front windshield that identifies all potential risks. Additionally, the camera lets you see through the truck’s side windows, and even gives you the option of setting up a third angle on the driver, so you can observe their behavior behind the wheel. You’ll see everything that’s happening from every angle, both inside and outside of the truck.

  • Driver Recognition – Conversations with your drivers shouldn’t just be rooted in constructive criticism. You should also reward your drivers for the things they do well. Driveri’s unique recognition system notifies you when your drivers hit certain safety milestones so that you can make sure to high-five them later.

  • High-Definition Maps – Thanks to commercially deployed Driveri devices, you’ll be given an in-depth overview of both the area surrounding your driver’s trucks and the places where your trucks are headed.

Goodbye, False Claims!

In addition to lessening the chance of an accident, Driveri’s capacity to record and contextualize eliminates the possibility of another driver on the road filing a false claim that sends your insurance rates through the roof.

Drivers will have a tough time convincing anyone that one of your drivers made a mistake when a 360-degree, high-definition video proves otherwise.

Get Netradyne For Your Fleet

When it comes to fleet management, an informed operation is a successful operation. And it doesn’t get more informed than when Netradyne’s unrivaled Driveri platform covers every square inch of your drivers’ routes.

To back your fleet of trucks with driver technology that boosts morale, mitigates risk, and gets rid of false claims altogether, call the Trucking Proud Insurance Agency today!

Sources:

“How AI is Protecting Fleet Equipment” by Aaron Marsh

https://www.fleetowner.com/technology/how-ai-tech-protecting-fleet-equipment

“How AI Can Help Drivers Avoid Reckless Speeding” by Pooja Singh

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/331202


“Artificial Intelligence Can Help Drivers Subconsciously Stay Away from Reckless Speeding” by Vishnu Rajamanickam https://www.freightwaves.com/news/insurance-and-risk-management/artificial-intelligence-can-help-drivers-subconsciously-stay-away-from-reckless-speeding

Why Owner Operators Need to Audit Independent Contractors Following The CA Supreme Court Ruling That Changed IC Status

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When a company needs work done, they can either hire a new employee to fill a position or bring in an independent contractor to work temporarily. Before April 30th of last year, this decision was primarily based on the time specifications of the work. Now, however, after the California Supreme Court case: Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, the dynamics of IC contracts have completely shifted.

In 2004, Dynamex, a same-day courier service company, decided to cut costs by converting all their employee drivers to independent contractors. Doing so, left their ex-employees in a bind—to continue working with fewer employee benefits and protections or to sue for misclassification of independent contractors. They chose the latter.

After 14 years in the judiciary process, going through both the Court of Appeals and the California Supreme Court, the result is in Dynamex unfairly misclassified its workers. What effect does this decision have on California businesses and owner-operators in general? Read on to find out.

Why Employers Classify Their Employees as Independent Contractors

To begin with, the initial question that arises is why an employer would classify an employee as an independent contractor. Why, for example, would a food delivery service choose to have ICs instead of employees? The reason is that employees are significantly more expensive:

  • Employers need to pay payroll taxes

  • Minimum wage laws and overtime apply to employees

  • Employees must be reimbursed for incurred business expenses

  • Independent contractors don’t receive required meal periods or rest breaks

  • ICs are usually not offered insurance, disability, or social security

As you can imagine, employers have plenty of incentive to reduce their bottom line by using independent contractors.

From Borello to ABC: Contractor or Employee

Prior to the Dynamex court decision, the way that employers determined whether someone working for them was an employee or an independent contractor depended on the Borello test. The principal factor was: if the working person had control over the manner and means of accomplishing the desired task, then they would be classified as an IC.

Basically, if the person controlled their hours, their work methodology, and could refuse certain aspects of a job, they were an independent contractor. If these were all determined by an employer, they were an employee.

Note: This is a simplified explanation; there were nine variable factors that determined independent contractor status under the Borello test.

What followed from the court decision in 2018 was the development of a new test to determine IC status—the ABC test.

ABC Test

The immediate implication of the ABC test was to make it harder for companies to establish independent contractor status. The burden of proof, so to speak, was on the employer. The three factors to prove were:

  • A) Free From Control – Workers must be free from the control of the hiring entity when it comes to the performance of the work while under contract.

  • B) Work Outside Business – Workers must perform work that the hiring entity’s business does not focus on.

  • C) Establish Independence – Worker must be engaged in independent trade, occupation, and/or business.

Most of the complications for companies arise from Part B of the ABC test. For example, food delivery services would have a hard time convincing a judge that their “independent contractors” delivering food falls outside the purview of the overall business.

Effect on The Gig Economy

This places the most significant impact on businesses that partake in the gig economy. Companies from Uber to Doordash will have to determine whether their workers remain as independent contractors under the new ABC test—although it’s likely they won’t. This will put a strain on these tech giants, as switching from ICs to employees increases costs to employers by an estimated 25% to 40%.

Effect on Owner-Operators

Similarly, industries that have owner-operators working with independent contractors should expect to be affected. Trucking companies, in particular, are at significant risk. Not only are the fees for misclassification costly, but the additional costs of switching ICs to employees could mean an end to these small businesses. 

To ensure you’re operating properly under the new ABC law, owner-operators need to audit their ICs internally.

TPIA Partners With Sheppard Mullin

Contending with statewide audits will be complex. These audits will come with intricate questionnaires designed to encapsulate the current employee-contractor standards and expose any irregularities in hires. 

That’s why TPIA is partnering with Sheppard Mullin—to audit its client's IC contracts, DMV motor carrier permits, US DOT numbers, and more. Doing so will prevent up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes, penalties, and fines for their clients.

Dynamex Enforcement and Moving Into The Future

This new development in IC contracts could spell the end for owner-operators in the state of California. Time will tell on that one. For now, the most important task is to self-audit your independent contractors to determine whether they pass the ABC test. 

Trucking Proud Insurance Agency considers the Dynamex decision one of the five key issues they advocate. The others include PAGA, CARB, piece rate, and overnight parking. Call TPIA if you believe Dynamex affects your business.

Sources:

California Department of Industrial Relations. Independent contractor versus employee. https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_IndependentContractor.htm

Wired. A California Ruling Threatens the Gig Economy https://www.wired.com/story/a-california-ruling-threatens-the-gig-economy/

Benefits of DNA Testing

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Have you ever wondered why doctors ask whether heart disease, high blood pressure, or cholesterol problems run in your family? The reason is that people can have a genetic predisposition to certain ailments. If your mother had Alzheimer’s, for example, you have an increased risk of developing the same neurological disorder in your lifetime.

Your DNA determines everything from the color of your eyes to whether or not you have diabetes. Family history is an archaic way of gaining insight into this information. Apart from this, doctors only have a few general methods to determine what you’re suffering from. They can note your current set of symptoms and family’s medical history, and then run you through a series of diagnostic tests.

But now, with the technological advancements in DNA testing, collecting a sample and sequencing your genome is a real possibility for the future of healthcare. 

Why DNA Testing is Important

When it comes to the treatment of severe disorders, the earlier it’s discovered, the better. Pancreatic cancer, a particularly nasty disease, has a dismal 5-year survival rate. Stage 1 pancreatic cancer has a 14% survival rate, while stage 4 pancreatic cancer has just 1%. While both statistics are haunting, the importance of early detection cannot be understated. DNA testing can be that needed detection.

The same goes for the opposite case. With DNA testing, you can determine what disorders you’re not genetically predisposed to. This will help avoid unnecessary checkups and screenings, and these resources can be reallocated to where they’re needed: monitoring and preventing diseases.

How DNA Testing Works

If you recall back to high school biology class, you might remember that DNA is housed inside the nucleus of the cell. You are made up of trillions of these cells, and that includes your saliva, skin, blood, and hair, any of which can be used for a DNA test. The most common procedure for obtaining DNA comes from a buccal smear, where a cotton swab collects a sample of cells from the inside of your cheeks.

If you’re considering receiving a DNA test, the process is as follows:

  • The doctor will confirm consent, inform you of the risks involved, and collect a sample.

  • With your DNA sample, the lab will either run narrowed tests (to determine specific conditions) or will sequence the DNA.

  • Once sequenced, computers will analyze the DNA for variants.

  • Comparing the variants with other people’s DNA, computers assess risks and interpret results.

  • The doctor then offers your results and performs any further testing needed to assess certain disorders.

The Healthcare Industry: How DNA is Changing it

As mentioned above, doctors can only assess a patient based on their present condition and referencing their health against their family history. But DNA testing could revolutionize the way the healthcare industry works. Instead of working on the symptoms level, doctors could work on a genetic level. Instead of running full-body scans or waiting until symptoms present themselves, doctors can prevent diseases before they develop. 

The intervention that is possible with some of the most detrimental diseases is what makes DNA testing revolutionary. They can help with some of the major health crises of the modern age, including:

  • Cancer and cancer treatment

  • Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders

  • Cardiac diseases

Cancer Treatment

Not only is cancer and cancer treatment terrible stress on a person’s physical health, but the financial damage can make the situation miserable. The average cancer treatment costs around $150,000. For most people, this is a soul-crushing amount of money. Even with great insurance, the prices are extraordinary.

DNA testing, on the other hand, costs the patient a minimal amount, and it is sometimes covered by health insurance. Having the ability to know whether or not you’re genetically predisposed to a certain type of cancer can increase the chances of catching it early. Doing so could mean cancer treatments of $3,000 versus $300,000. 

Check with your health insurance to see if DNA testing and certain types of cancer screenings are free.

Alzheimer’s and Neurological Disorders

Watching a loved one’s memories slowly drift away or suffering from it yourself can be a psychological nightmare. Because of the complexity of the brain, curing neurological disorders are highly unlikely. All people can do are take the proper steps to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Cardiac Diseases

Heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other cardiac diseases affect a large percentage of Americans and are due to both environmental and genetic factors. Heart disease alone is the leading cause of death—averaging to about 1 in every 4 deaths for both men and women. Having your DNA tested can mean an increased awareness of these disorders and how to prevent them.

How TPIA Helps its Members

Trucking Proud Insurance Agency offers its executive members access to these services, allowing them to take control of their health. Not only will you know what types of medical conditions you’re genetically predisposed to, but you will also find out what you’re unlikely to have.

This can prevent spending excess money on checkups and screenings and will help allocate those resources where they’re needed: disease intervention. Talk to your TPIA representative today about genetic testing and how you can benefit.

Sources:

WebMD. Mom Has Alzheimer's? Your Risk May Be High. https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20110718/mom-has-alzheimers-your-risk-may-be-high#1

Healthline. Pancreatic Cancer: Prognosis and Life Expectancy  https://www.healthline.com/health/pancreatic-cancer/prognosis-life-expectancy#outlook

AARP. The High Cost of Cancer Treatment https://www.aarp.org/money/credit-loans-debt/info-2018/the-high-cost-of-cancer-treatment.html

WebMD. Cancer Screening and Prevention Under Health Reform https://www.webmd.com/health-insurance/webmd-cancer-screening-and-prevention#1

CDC. Heart Disease Fact Sheet. https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_heart_disease.htm