May 2015

Fleet Management News & Business Info | Commercial Carrier Journal

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Page 26 of 116

COMMERCIAL CARRIER JOURNAL | MAY 2015 25 know that law firms promis- ing "Big Checks!" are watching and waiting on you to screw up. Once that happens, they're going to strike hard and take you for every cent they possibly can. Your only defense against these guys is a good offense. That means you have to be proactive and plan regular meetings with your insur- ance agent, as unpleasant as that sounds. At least twice a year, sit down with your agent and get up to speed on what's happening both nationally and locally on the litigation front. Review your coverage to make sure there are no gaps and that you're in the best possible shape to deal with a lawsuit should one come your way. Also, if you're not invest- ing in vehicle safety devic- es, now's the time to start looking into them. If you're already using such devices, T he commercials are ridiculous. At home, I instinctively grab the remote and change the channel until they're over. But at the gym or a restaurant in the evenings, that's not an option. So I have to watch the advertisements put out by two local lawyers promising "Big Checks!" to wronged individuals across Alabama. The commercials have the subtlety and charm usually reserved for used-car salesmen. One guy in his ad waves around a high-powered rifle and says he'll go "hunting" for the money you rightly are owed for your pain and suf- fering. He eventually points the rifle at a deer and pulls the trigger – then the deer's head explodes in a spray of hundred-dol- lar bills. You can't make this stuff up. But as tacky as these commercials are, there's a serious problem with them. Be- cause almost always, there is an 18-wheeler prominently displayed at some point in the ad. Usually, an ominous voice asks "Have you been injured by a BIG TRUCK?" while an air horn blasts in the background for good measure. These guys are looking for an easy mark. Guess what? You're that easy mark. Everybody hates trucks. They're big. They're scary. As far as Joe Q. Public is con- cerned, the guys driving them probably are too irresponsible to handle something that big and are trained poorly to boot. When crashes do happen, they're usually spectacular and grab headlines, reinforc- ing all of the usual stereotypes. Best of all: Lawyers know that fleets – big fleets, in particular – have money and big fat insurance policies. All of which is a dream come true if you're pitching a BIG CASH PAY- OUT to a lawsuit-happy viewing public drunk on the idea of easy money. It's unsettling to see trucking targeted like this so blatantly. Granted, there are bad apples in the industry, and accidents do happen, but the vast majority of fleets and drivers on the road today are professionals who place a high degree of importance on safety. Unfortunately, that message is not reaching the four-wheeling public. In my opinion, it's unlikely to get there any time soon. So it's time for a reality check. If you're a fleet or an owner-operator, PRODUCT REVIEWS, OEM & SUPPLIER NEWS, AND EQUIPMENT MANAGEMENT TRENDS BY JACK ROBERTS JACK ROBERTS is Executive Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. E-mail or call (205) 248-1358. EASY MARK: TV lawyers know that fleets have money and large insurance policies. BE PROACTIVE: Plan regular meetings with your insurance agent to review your coverage. SAFETY DEVICES: Now's the time to start looking into them or consider adding new ones. The target on your back TV lawyers hope big trucks lead to big payday Continued on page 26

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