Protect Your California Trucking Business from Negligent Hiring Claims

Posted on December 16, 2014

The regulatory landscape changes frequently and negligent hiring and retention claims are on the rise. Many carriers do not fully understand the concept of negligent hiring. And if you don’t understand it, how can you be sure to avoid it?

 

Negligent hiring is a claim made by an injured party against an employer based on the premise that the employer knew or should have known about the employee’s background, and that the employee’s background would indicate dangerous or untrustworthy character. Examples of negative background information include high accident frequency, multiple major moving violations, and even substance abuse. These claims are recognized in almost every state (including California) and have resulted in payouts averaging more than $1 million dollars each.

 

Your organization can avoid these potentially costly claims by engaging in hiring practices that mitigate your exposure to liability. There are many nuances involved in this process, but here are the basics:

 

    Hire based on many factors – the more information, the better

    Consider all aspects of hiring liability and their potential impact

    Leverage MVRs and PSPs to ascertain the following:

        Safety-orientation

        Customer focus

        Integrity

        Independence

        Compliance

 

There are clearly many steps involved in established liability-oriented hiring protocols that will stand up to strict scrutiny in a court of law. To avoid spending your time and money in the California legal system, Contact us.

Posted in  california trucking news, trucking liability | Tagged california hiring liability, california negligent hiring, california trucking best practices, california trucking hiring

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New California Trucking Safety & Compliance Solutions

Posted on December 8, 2014

In the transportation industry, safety plays two critical roles – mitigating costly accidents and litigation, and promoting the reputation of your business. Without a strong and effective program in place, your business is exposed to a wide variety of risks. But safety is about more than best practices – compliance with local, state, and federal regulations is crucial to avoid costly fines and penalties.

 

California has more regulatory complexities than most states, and failure to understand these complexities can be an expensive mistake. The trucking experts at Noble West now offer a sweeping new portfolio of safety and compliance services to assist your organization. As service mix is customizable for each client, costs can be minimized while optimizing effectiveness of operations. Services offered include:

 

 Driver Files / Driver New Hire Screening

Files are fully audited for compliance at transition. Annual MVR Reviews are completed with each file audit at the time of transition. Our safety department will provide any missing/incomplete documents to the customer to bring each driver file into compliance. It is imperative that the client is timely in providing the required documents to complete each file and finish the transition process.

Client provides our safety department with potential hire applicant paperwork. Our safety department will order the MVR and PSP report and provide it to the client for review. Once the Client has reviewed, client will perform road test and send the driver for a pre‐employment drug screen if they are a candidate for a position. Drug screen results will be provided to our safety department and when the client provides us with an official hire date, our safety department will provide the client with the remaining hiring paperwork to complete the driver’s file. Our safety department will perform the previous employment verifications on behalf of the client.

 

 Drug & Alcohol Testing Program

Our safety department will enroll the client into a drug consortium if less than 10 drivers. If there are more than 10 drivers, the client will have their own consortium/pool. Our safety department will manage quarterly random drug/alcohol pools and forward pull lists and notification letters to the client. Client will be responsible to send the driver for testing at their preferred clinic and will forward to our safety department the signed, dated, time stamped notification letters along with the copies of the chain of custody forms from the clinic. Our safety department will receive testing results directly and will advise the client of test results and place results into the driver file. Our safety department will bill the client for the tests monthly.

Log Audit Programs

Our safety department will provide violation letters to the client after audit is complete. If the client does not choose our safety department’s managed Meaningful Action Plan, the client will be responsible for the action taken with the driver. Fuel Falsification audits are automatically included in the audits. This will require the motor carrier to provide our safety department with fuel vendor information and/or weekly reports from your fuel vendor with your logs. Program is compatible with EOBR’s, any legal log is acceptable, 48 hour turnaround time. Logs are audited by people, not relying on only a computer. Multiple report options are available.

 

Log Audit Meaningful Action Plan

Our safety department will provide the client with a meaningful action plan to act upon driver violations and will monitor driver violations for repetitive action. Our safety department will provide violation letters and availability to on‐line classes and testing. Motor Carrier would be responsible to take action with the driver according to the plan agreed upon and based upon the client’s Company Policy. Our safety department will retain documentation for the action taken within the Log Audit file and shred after 6 months.

 

CSA Monitoring Meaningful Action Plan

Our safety department will provide the client with a meaningful action plan to act upon driver violations and will monitor driver violations for repetitive action. Our safety department will provide violation letters and availablity to on‐line classes and testing. Motor Carrier would be reponsible to take action with the driver according to the plan agreed upon and based upon the client’s Company Policy. Our safety department will retain documentation for the action taken within the CSA Monitoring file.

 

Maintenance File Program

“Cloud”‐ Client can upload and store their vehicle maintenance files to maintain documents in one easy to access location available from any computer 24/7 with secure login.

 

HazMat Shipping Papers File Program

We will provide an on‐line program that allows the motor carrier to file all their Haz Mat and Haz Waste shipping papers. The Motor Carrier will upload the papers to our system and then our stystem will delete the HM papers automatically after 2 year and the Haz Waste after 3 years. The papers can be automatically sorted by power unit, shipper and date.

 

To learn more about these safety and compliance solutions, Contact us.

 Posted in california trucking insurance, california trucking safety | Tagged california transportation resources, trucking compliance ca, trucking regulations ca, trucking safety ca

Winter Driving: Are Your Operators Prepared?

Posted on December 1, 2014

Winter driving presents a major challenge for transportation professionals in many parts of the country. Whether facing snowdrifts, torrentials rains, ice patches, or even just shortened days, the likelihood of an accident increases. Fleet safety should always be a high priority, but this is especially true in winter. There are, however, a number of steps that can be taken to avoid commonly contributing factors, mitigating your overall loss exposure. These include:

 

Checking the regional weather forecasts – don’t let a storm take you by surprise

 

Allow extra time for weather delays – make sure to set expectations realistic to the road conditions

 

Winterize equipment – tires, belts, chains, defrosters, wipers, and other equipment should be ready for inclement weather

 

Decreased speed – in all areas, decreasing speed as appropriate will ultimately benefit everyone, reducing accidents can save time.

 

Increased following distance – longer stopping distance in bad weather is critical in avoiding accidents

 

Additionally, winter is an important time to sharpen your skills. Review your comfort level with smooth shifting, gradual and anticipated braking, curve handling, route planning, and other related behaviors. To learn more,, Contact us.

 Posted in california trucking insurance, california trucking safety | Tagged california transportation resources, trucking compliance ca, trucking regulations ca, trucking safety ca

Truck Driver Appreciation

Posted on November 10, 2014

Professional truck drivers of all varieties comprise the backbone of the American economy. From heavy machinery developing homes, businesses and infrastructure to commercial cargo haulers carrying the nation’s goods, from school buses keeping our children safe and educated to ambulances and fire trucks saving our lives, truck drivers make modern American living the best it can be. Yet many people are unaware of this or simply take it for granted. Over 9 billion tons of freight are moved by over 3 million commercial operators. Millions of American lives are saved each year by emergency response operators.

 

The dedicated transportation risk management team at Noble West understands and respects these vital contributions to the American dream, and demonstrates this respect in every interaction with trucking industry professionals. To learn more, visit , Contact us.

 Posted in california trucking insurance, california trucking safety | Tagged california transportation resources, trucking compliance ca, trucking regulations ca, trucking safety ca

Trucking Operations and Teamwork: Are You All In?

Posted on November 3, 2014

Professional truck drivers of all varieties comprise the backbone of the American economy. From Teamwork is crucial in operating a safe, efficient transportation business while maintaining employee morale. Though management techniques have long utilized tactics like regulations and company policies, these strategies can prove ineffective and even dangerous. Safety must come first – it’s best for the team. So what does real teamwork look like?

 

  •     Minimizing distractions and fatigue
  •     Adhering strictly to HOS regulations
  •     Safety first means loads and drivers arrive intact
  •     Encouraging drivers to stay within safe speed of travel
  •     Stopping to call in perceived mechanical issues with truck or trailer

 

​It’s important for employees and co-workers to feel as though they are all working towards a common goal – a company that prides itself on quality and safety. While policies and procedures are incredibly important, making sure that everyone is aware that their safety and the safety of the company is a top priority can support the teamwork mentality. To learn more about implementation of teamwork and safety strategies in the transportation industry: Contact us.

 Posted in california trucking insurance, california trucking safety | Tagged california transportation resources, trucking compliance ca, trucking regulations ca, trucking safety ca

Trucker Distractions & Texting Penalties – Do You Know the Risks?

Posted on August 18, 2014

Most commercial operators are aware by now that distractions lead to an increase in accident rate, and how consequential an accident can be. But many operators overlook some of the more mundane distractions that they might encounter while on the road. Beyond this, specific distractions now carry substantially increased fines and penalties in many states, with more on the way. Avoiding accidents, as well as large fines and court appearances, may mean redifining what operators consider distracting. These distractions include:

 

* Eating – requires operators to remove one hand from the wheel, and usually to make eye contact with the food, shifting visual focus away from the road.

 

* Drinking – requires operators to remove one hand from the wheel. Additionally, beverages can be hotter or colder than expected, or spill, any of which can cause significant distraction.

 

* Radio – audio entertainment and/or nonessential communications should be minimized, so as to maintain focus on the roadway conditions, traffic, etc.

 

* Texting – highly visually distracting, and now carries heavy fines and penalties in many states, including mandatory court appearance.

 

* Cell Phones – talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device means one hand off the wheel and/or the abnormal positioning of other body parts (chin on shoulder, knee on wheel, etc) which can lead to significant and unnecessary risk.

 

* Navigation System – adjusting navigational information can draw one’s attention away from the road for far too long – pull over to make changes to your navigation.

 

To learn more about driver distractions and how to avoid them for your fleet: Contact us.

 Posted in california trucking insurance, california trucking safety | Tagged california transportation resources, trucking compliance ca, trucking regulations ca, trucking safety ca

Trucking Safety: Creating a Positive Presence on the Road

Posted on August 18, 2014

Commercial trucks are usually the largest and most noticeable vehicles on the road by a significant margin. Being seen is typically not a challenge, but maintaining a positive influence on driver safety can be much more difficulty. Some automobile drivers are oblivious, others aggressive, and then there are some who are simply anxious in the presence of a large truck. Conducting your commercial vehicle in a manner that is both safe and considerate will minimize the chances of your company receiving negative calls about you, and maximize the chances of garnering good will toward your employer and trucking professionals in general. There are many recommended behaviors to observe and avoid, including:

Positive Behaviors:

 

   DO Use high beams when appropriate

    DO Keep lights and reflectors clean and well-maintained

    DO Ensure other drivers see you – make eye contact or use your horn

    DO Maintain the reflective tape around the truck and trailer

 

Detrimental Behaviors:

 

    DON’T Merge or change lanes aggressively

    DON’T Speed in densely populated areas

    DON’T Attempt to pass another truck until other drivers have done so

    DON’T Drive close enough to other vehicles that it makes drivers uncomfortable

 

 Contact us.

 Posted in california trucking insurance, california trucking safety | Tagged california transportation resources, trucking compliance ca, trucking regulations ca, trucking safety ca

CARB Unveils Multiple Enforcement and Deadline Changes

Posted on May 21, 2014

from LandLineMag.com

 

Five months after taking heat from much of the industry and being sued by OOIDA and others, the California Air Resources Board unveiled multiple changes to enforcement and deadlines tied to its Truck and Bus Rule Thursday.

 

“The trucking community spoke and we listened,” CARB Chairman Mary Nichols said according to a CARB news release. “The good news is that we will not have to sacrifice the state’s air quality goals to assist fleet owners. These amendments, which include more flexible deadlines and increased opportunities to access incentive funding, will further our emissions reduction goals by better ensuring that fleets can meet the requirements of the regulation.”

 

CARB’s 12 board members are slated to hear amendment proposals for the state’s most expensive regulation in history – the Truck and Bus Rule – at its April 24 board meeting.

 

California’s On-Road Truck and Bus Regulation was predicted to cost the trucking industry billions of dollars in truck replacement or retrofit work. The rule requires most trucks and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 14,000 pounds to be upgraded either with diesel particulate filters or by upgrading to cleaner and newer engines between 2012 and 2023.

 

The proposed changes to the rule are aimed at adding flexibility for small fleets, lower mileage fleets and fleets in areas that have improved certain air quality metrics. The changes include:

 

    A longer phase-in period for diesel particulate matter requirements for trucks that operate “exclusively in certain rural areas with cleaner air”;

    Additional time and a lower cost route for all small fleet owners to meet their particulate matter compliance requirements by upgrading one truck this year, two by 2016 and three by 2018.

    A new compliance route for fleet owners who don’t currently qualify for a loan to make emissions upgrades;

    Adjusted schedules for low-use vehicles and certain work trucks;

    The recognition of fleet owners who already upgraded their trucks to comply by providing “additional ‘useable life’ for retrofit trucks and reducing near-term compliance requirements.”

 

CARB’s proposed changes to the rule don’t appear likely to expand beyond its previous allowances for low-use trucks from outside the Golden State. The staff proposal defines low-use trucks as “operated fewer than 1,000 miles within the borders of California in the compliance year.” Trucks that operate fewer than 5,000 miles annually “regardless of where it is operated,” also qualify as low-use until 2020.

 

Trucks that already meet the rule’s 2014 requirements don’t have to be upgraded to meet 2010 model year emissions standards until 2023 “as long as the vehicle remains in the fleet.”

 

CARB defines small fleets as “three or fewer diesel vehicles.”

 

Nichols said truck owners that already invested in upgrades to meet the rule’s previous enforcement dates will be provided added compliance time “beyond what is currently allowed to keep trucks they have retrofitted.”

 

Most trucks and buses were required by the rule to have a diesel particulate filter installed by Jan. 1, 2014. Responding to widespread outcry concerning the rule’s effects on California’s trucking and agriculture industry, CARB staff announced proposals to ease enforcement last fall by expanding the rule’s exemptions. The Truck and Bus Rule’s exemptions now include existing low-mileage agriculture vehicles, existing low-mileage construction trucks, existing particulate matter phase-in requirements, and a 5,000-mile low-use exemption for trucks that drive in areas classified as “NOx-exempt.”

 

Last fall, the air quality agency also waived enforcement for the first six months of 2014 for truck owners who ordered trucks or diesel particulate filters or could prove they were turned down for a loan to purchase equipment to meet the rule.

 

April’s meeting may shed light on just how many trucks have been upgraded to meet the rule’s requirements.

 

According to a survey by the OOIDA Foundation, about 154,000, or 77 percent, of OOIDA members who are owner-operators drive trucks that are 2006 or older and don’t meet the Truck and Bus Rule. That percentage is consistent with national estimates of registered class 8 diesel trucks.

 

CARB is enforcing the rule on trucking company owners, operators, motor carriers, brokers and dispatchers. In January, CARB said truck owners and operators who need to demonstrate their compliance with the regulation to brokers and dispatchers can obtain a verification certificate quickest by reporting online.

 

CARB is accepting public comments on the rule beginning March 7 until 5 p.m. April 21. To provide comments, click here.

 

The board meeting will begin at 9 a.m. April 24 at the Byron Sher Auditorium at CARB headquarters in Sacramento.

 

To learn more about how this will affect your trucking operation

 

 Contact us.

 Posted in california trucking insurance, california trucking safety | Tagged california transportation resources, trucking compliance ca, trucking regulations ca, trucking safety ca

Driver Recruitment and Retention in an Increasingly Competitive Market

Posted on May 7, 2014

Heightened concerns regarding the growing shortage of truck drivers have motivated carriers to develop new methodologies for their recruiting and retention efforts, including  predictive analytics, social media, and even opening their own driver training schools.

 

“The market for drivers is tight and as the economy continues to improve, the situation will only get tougher. Competition is intense and drivers are at a premium and can easily move from one carrier to another to switch jobs,” said Kent Ferguson, director-Transportation Solutions for global employment screening provider HireRight.

 

“The shortage really stems from a confluence of factors that include an aging workforce and regulations that limit driver hours, as well as new demands resulting from the improving economy,” he added. “As the economy grows overall, there’s an increased demand for freight from a number of expanding markets, while at the same time, as other industries rebound and increase hiring, there are new employment opportunities that attract drivers away, such as construction jobs.”

 

Ferguson noted that it can be especially hard to hire younger entry-level drivers because inexperienced drivers are forced to take jobs with national trucking firms that require drivers to be on the road for weeks at a time.

 

“This is because local trucking firms often require two years of experience to keep insurance premiums down,” he said. “Thus many younger drivers are drawn to construction and other jobs that pay more, and allow more time at home. Plus, people can’t drive a commercial truck until age 21, and most people have already started their careers by that time.”

 

As a result, many carriers are starting to test and deploy new screening tools both to help them better identify potential recruits on the front and help keep them in the driver’s seat.

 

“As a fleet manager, it’s crucial to understand that there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to recruiting and retaining drivers,” explained Vikas Jain, vice president and general manager for FleetRisk Advisors.

 

“Today, more advanced fleets in the industry are turning to a more holistic management philosophy that is focused on the drivers—keeping them happy, safe, productive and employed—which empowers companies to improve driver retention, instead of spending millions of dollars trying to recruit new ones,” he said.

 

Jain noted that within the past 10 years, fleets have started implementing technology solutions—such as predictive analytics technology—to help them manage the behavior of their drivers and identify the different elements that cause drivers to leave their jobs, have an accident or file a worker’s compensation claim.

 

“One of the greatest benefits technology brings forth to its customers is allowing the fleet managers to have quality conversation with their drivers regularly,” he pointed out. “The ability to communicate with the right drivers, on the right subject, at the right time, ensures that problems are addressed in a timely manner. Having real conversations with someone a driver trusts then feathers into driver retention.”

 

Jain feels that predictive analytics technology is and will continue to challenge traditional personnel management practices by shining a light on the psychology behind the drivers.

 

“As fleets continue to look beyond traditional methods to better manage their drivers and overall company operations, they will be able to capitalize on technology to help retain top talent, reduce accident occurrences, and build better, lasting relationships with drivers,” he noted.

 

HireRight’s Ferguson noted that while a survey conducted by his firm found that many motor carriers continue to attract new talent via traditional methods, including referrals (74%), online job boards (64%), print media (57%), and attending job fairs (37%), they’ve added the use of social media to this mix, with 25% of respondents reporting they use social networking for recruiting.

 

To learn more,   Contact us.

 Posted in california trucking insurance, california trucking safety | Tagged california transportation resources, trucking compliance ca, trucking regulations ca, trucking safety ca

Labor Law Ruling to Affect Trucking Industry

Posted on April 23, 2014

From thingprogress.org

 

Truck drivers at a Los Angeles-area freight hauling company cannot be treated as “independent contractors” or harassed for discussing the possibility of unionizing, according to a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling issued Thursday.

 

The ruling finds that a company called Pacific 9 Transportation made illegal retaliatory threats against several of its drivers back in the fall of 2013. To resolve that violation of labor law, the company must post documents at worksites notifying drivers of their right to unionize. That’s a significant victory on its own, but what makes the Pacific 9 ruling so significant is that the NLRB decided it has jurisdiction over these workers at all.

 

The drivers, who form a key link in the American retail supply chain bringing goods from southern Californian ports to the so-called “inland empire” of shipping warehouses and retail distribution centers, have long been treated as “independent contractors” for legal purposes. Companies misclassify full-time workers as contractors in order to duck a variety of financial obligations, including payroll taxes and minimum wage laws. Mislabeling a worker in this way can save a company almost $4,000 per worker per year, according to a 2012 Treasury Department report.

 

Roughly two-thirds of America’s 75,000 port truck drivers are misclassified by their employers, according to a recent analysis by a coalition of progressive groups that are backing the Pacific 9 drivers’ organizing effort.

 

If port truckers were indeed “independent contractors,” the NLRB would have no authority to intervene on their behalf with regard to workplace intimidation. As lawyers for the truckers explained in an email to ThinkProgress, “independent contractors have no rights whatsoever under the National Labor Relations Act –- they have no right to organize and no right to be protected from unfair labor practices. Thus, in order for the Region to propose this settlement, it had to first find that the drivers were employees.” By ruling on the matter at all, the government body declared these drivers are misclassified and are protected by labor laws.

 

That means the drivers’ other key complaint about systematic wage theft can get a hearing in California, and similar cases around the country should gain traction. The decision “could affect the entire port trucking industry,” according to a Justice for Port Drivers press release, “reshaping a structure that currently leaves many of America’s port drivers working full time yet earning less than minimum wage.”

 

It remains to be seen if the good news for port truckers will prove helpful for the tens of thousands of workers in other professions who are similarly deprived of their labor rights and wages. Misclassification is a problem in a variety of other sectors of the economy as well, placing a drag on federal and state budgets and undermining the traditional connection between a full day’s work and a fair day’s pay.

 

To learn more,  Contact us.

 Posted in california trucking insurance, california trucking safety | Tagged california transportation resources, trucking compliance ca, trucking regulations ca, trucking safety ca

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