We hope your Thanksgiving was great, and on to the holidays and the New Year!
Looking back on November, our first Town Hall webinar was a big success. We had hundreds of CAB users attend the event live, and many others reviewed the recorded webinar. We had several user questions submitted prior to the event and many more asked live while the event was underway.
We appreciate those that provided questions for the CAB Team to answer. We didn’t get to all of the questions, but we were able to reach out to individual users as well.
We look forward to doing a similar format in the future. As always, please feel free to provide feedback on our topics and suggest new ones as well.
As we head into December, Jean, Shuie and the whole CAB team want to wish each of you a wonderful, safe, and healthy holiday season.
CAB Live Training Sessions
Please note, due to how the days fall this December, we will be only having one live webinar (see below).
Tuesday, December 14th @ 12p EST: CAB for Logistics. Learn about the plethora of tools and resources available for Logistics and Freight Brokering companies, plus how to use them to identify new opportunities such as motor carriers and shippers. You’ll also learn how to use CAB List to monitor the fleets in your stable to better understand operations, cargo hauled lanes, and more. Click here to register.
Don’t forget, you can explore all of our previously recorded live webinar sessions on our website!
CAB’s Tips & Tricks: Detailed breakdown of Crashes, Inspections and Time Spent Inspected
Here’s how to use our new hover and pop-up detail in the Inspections/Accidents Tab, including Unit Summary section under Crashes, Inspections and Time Spent Inspected. When you hover over each of the sections you will view this additional breakdown information detailed below:
- Crashes: Fatality vs. Injury
- We provide the number of fatalities and injury crashes. The count of crashes left over would be the number of tow-away inspections. There are 3 types of crashes with the FMCSA: fatalities, injuries, and tow-aways. With the example below, this motor carrier has zero fatalities, 1 injury crash, and 4 tow-away crashes.
- Inspections: Fixed vs. Roadside.
- Fixed inspections are inspections that take place at a fixed location like a scale house or Safety Weight Enforcement Facility (SWEF). A roadside inspection is normally performed by a mobile unit like a state patrol squad car. In the example below, the motor carrier has had 91 total inspections in the prior 12 months, 49 Fixed and 42 Roadside.
- Time Spent Inspected: Average time per inspection.
- This detail provides the average amount of time per inspection for each of the 91 inspections. As indicated, the total inspection time is 1 Day 20 Hours 36 Minutes. Please note, the time provided is the amount of time spent and then recorded by the inspector conducting the inspection. It does not account for any additional downtime for that driver and/or vehicle such as waiting for an Out of Service vehicle defect to be repaired or a driver Hours of Service violation (10, 11, 14-hour, 36-hour reset, or the like) to be observed.
This new feature is provided to help CAB users better understand the underlying information in each of the above sections quickly. Our ultimate goal is to work with our users to “Make Better Decisions”. If you have any questions about the above enhancement, please feel free to reach out to the CAB business team and we will be happy to help.
THIS MONTH WE REPORT:
Cyber threats in trucking have skyrocketed since the onset of pandemic: A new report from cybersecurity company Coro predicts escalating cyber attacks on transportation and trucking companies that are supporting an already duressed supply chain this holiday season. For the complete article from CCJ, click here.
New ATRI Study Quantifies the Impact of Small Verdicts and Settlements on the Trucking Industry: The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released a follow-up analysis to its 2020 hallmark report on The Impact of Nuclear Verdicts on the Trucking Industry, determining that a different plaintiff litigation model is impacting the industry: small cases. The research used a new ATRI dataset of more than 600 cases resulting in either a settlement or verdict award of less than $1 million.
This study showed that settlement payments are approximately 37.7 percent larger than verdict awards, and 393 percent more likely to occur in incidents involving a fatality. Additionally, incidents involving a severe injury were 217 percent more likely to settle and 199 percent more likely to result in payments to plaintiffs over $600,000. To request the full report from ATRI, click here.
Rear impact guard now part of annual truck inspection: Rear impact guards have been added to the checklist of annual truck inspections according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, following from government agencies and a truck safety advocate whose two children were killed in a truck accident eight years ago. Rear impact guard inspections will begin Dec. 9. Trucks that fail to pass will not be placed out of service (OOS), but each violation could result in a max fine of $15,876 for carriers and $3,969 for drivers. For the complete article from CCJ, click here.
FMCSA: Fatal large truck crashes increased in 2019: The number of fatal accidents involving large trucks (defined as vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 pounds) increased by 1% from 2018 to 2019, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s recently updated Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts. While the actual number of fatal crashes rose, the number of fatalities in crashes involving large trucks dropped from 5,006 to 5,005 from 2018 to 2019. Click here to review additional information on this topic.
DRIVE Safe Act becomes law: What you need to know: The DRIVE Safe Act, part of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill President Joe Biden signed into law on Monday, has created a pathway for drivers under 21 years old to enter interstate trucking just as it’s become more vital, and more profitable, than ever before. For the complete article on this important topic, click here.
Number of people 75 and older in the labor force is expected to grow 96.5 percent by 2030: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force is expected to increase by 8.9 million, or 5.5 percent, from 2020 to 2030, including a 96.5% increase of people aged 75 years or older within the labor force. For more information, click here.
Livestock haulers get additional HOS exemption in infrastructure law: The law already exempted livestock haulers from HOS rules while operating within a 150 air-mile radius (roughly 172 land miles or three hours’ driving) from the source of the shipment. Now, livestock and insect haulers will only have to abide by hours limitations if they exit the 150 air-mile radius of both the pickup location and the destination.
This move expands livestock and insect haulers’ potential single-trip hours-exempt length to around six hours one-way. Additionally, such a hauler would only be required to use an ELD if he or she had logbook-necessary trips for more than 8 days in any rolling 30-day period. Click here to review the additional detail in the Overdrive article.
CargoNet warns of increased cargo theft activity around Thanksgiving: Cargo theft recording firm CargoNet is warning truck drivers and fleets of an enhanced risk of cargo theft around the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday period. Theft reports were most common in states that have cargo theft problems throughout the year, including California, Texas, Illinois, Georgia and Florida. Cargo thieves targeted shipments of televisions, major appliances, mixed electronics, and alcoholic beverages the most in this analysis period. For more information on this topic, click here.
ATRI’s Latest Operational Costs Report Documents the Scale of COVID-19 Impacts on Trucking: The American Transportation Research Institute has released the findings of its 2021 update to An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking. The new “Ops Costs” research is based on detailed 2020 financial data provided directly by motor carriers of all sectors and fleet sizes.
The various line-item cost centers clearly document the numerous impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic had on trucking and the economy in general. The 2021 Ops Costs report documents the effect that faster truck speeds, due to low overall traffic levels, had on multiple line-items, as well as the sector and commodity volatility that occurred as consumers were forced to dramatically change spending habits.
In addition to faster truck speeds, COVID-19 impacts were considerable:
•dead-head miles increased to 20.6 percent
•annual operating miles decreased to 89,358 miles per truck
•fuel costs declined by nearly 20 percent to 30.8 cents per mile
Findings independent of COVID-19 impacts include:
• insurance costs rose more than 18 percent to 8.7 cents per mile – the highest in the Ops Costs report history
• while truck driver wages increased from 2019 to 2020, benefits costs per mile decreased
• overall truck driver compensation was 73.7 cents per mile
• safety and retention bonuses increased by 10.5 percent and 14.2 percent respectively
• starting bonuses dropped by 10 percent
Overall, the average marginal cost per mile incurred by motor carriers in 2020 decreased 5 cents per mile to $1.64. When the per-mile costs are converted to hourly costs, the report found that total hourly costs dropped slightly to $66.87. To obtain the full report, click here.
The Northern District of Ohio agreed with a truck broker that it was entitled to a default judgment on its claim against a motor carrier for a cargo loss. Under the terms of the broker carrier contract the motor carrier agreed to indemnify the broker if it paid claims. The court agreed that the Carmack Amendment applied and that the broker had made out a prima facie case for recovery. GlobalTranz Enterprises v. State to State Freight, LLC., 2021 WL 4990815
A household goods carrier was entitled to dismissal of a state law claim brought under the Unfair Claims Practices Act as the claim was preempted by the Carmack Amendment. The carrier was not, however, entitled to dismissal of the claim for attorney’s fees as there was a potential for that to be a proper claim under the federal regulations governing household goods carriers. Fields v. Allied Van Lines, Inc., 2021 WL 5181027
As the plaintiff failed to properly allege whether CH Robinson was acting as a motor carrier, or a freight forwarder, the District Court in Idaho dismissed the complaint, allowing the plaintiff to re-pled a proper complaint if the facts existed to support such a claim. As plaintiff was contending that CH Robinson was a freight forwarder or carrier, the court dismissed any negligence claim as preempted. Interesting read and a good explanation of Carmack venue provisions if you are interested. Gargoyle Granite & Marble, Inc. v. Opustone, LLC., 2021 WL 5451497
The District Court in Delaware granted a default judgment to a household goods plaintiff this month. The court held that the defendant’s invoking the Carmack Amendment without identifying the statute did not establish a meritorious defense that the state law claims were preempted. The court also held that the just retained counsel’s request for an extension of time to answer only 11 days after the answer was due was insufficient when it did not explain the 11 day delay. That was a tough one. Pay attention to dates. Taylor v. American Van Lines, 2021 WL 5415307
Wow, another Carmack trial reported this month. So rare. The District Court in Minnesota considered liability issues, and the application of a limitation of liability. Unfortunately for the motor carrier it failed to meet its burden of providing an act of the shipper as a defense to liability for damage to a printer. However, the court ultimately agreed that the motor carrier’s liability was substantially limited under its broker-carrier agreement, noting that it would have held the broker fully liable for failing to address the limitation of liability if the broker were still part of the suit! Dubow Textile, Inc. v. Western Specialized, Inc. 2021 WL 5505447
When a truck driver stopped his vehicle on the side of the road, blocking the view for drivers entering an intersection, the Court of Appeals in Kentucky held that there was a question of fact as to whether that truck driver could be liable when a passenger vehicle was struck when it entered the intersection without a clear view. Since reasonable minds could differ as to whether the tractor trailer being parked on the shoulder of the highway was a substantial factor in causing this accident, granting summary judgment on this issue was improper. Crabtree v. Baldwin, 2021 WL 5264339
When a bus was out of service for more than a year and injured a maintenance worker during repairs, neither the general liability or the auto liability policy of the bus company were triggered. The bus was not listed on the auto policy. The Eastern District of Wisconsin held that the MCS-90B was inapplicable because the bus was not being used in interstate commerce at the time of the event. The Form F Endorsement was also inapplicable because the repair of the bus was not a negligent operation of the bus. Lancer Ins Co. v. Personalized Coaches, Inc., 2021 WL 5326569
The lessor of a vehicle was granted summary judgment in a suit in which the truck driver sought damages for injuries suffered while operating the vehicle. The Eastern District in Arkansas held that the driver had failed to create a question of fact as to whether the lessor was aware of any defect in the vehicle when it was released to the motor carrier. Lacy v. Ryder Truck Rental, Inc., 2021 WL 5282759
The fact that a plaintiff did not specifically allege the amount of damages until later in the suit was not enough for a trucker to argue that removal was proper when it filed a late notice of removal. The Southern District of New York held that the trucker was given ample support for the severe injuries, including 1,000 pages of medical records, months before the removal. Too late and so back the case went to state court. Pizarro v. Langer Transportation Corporation, 2021 WL 5326433
Broker liability is again an issue. This month the Northern District in Illinois agreed that a truck broker bore no liability for a truck accident. While there was some support that the broker had a level of control over the shipment, the court held that the level of control was insufficient to to support vicarious liability for the actions of the truck driver. Summary judgment was granted to the broker. Ye v. Global Sunrise, Inc., 2021 WL 5083753
The Eastern District in Louisiana refused to grant plaintiff’s request for a negative inference that a truck driver was intoxicated at the time of an accident when there was no bad faith on the part of the defendant in not having a alcohol test completed. The plaintiffs could not show that the results of a drug or alcohol test ever existed, let alone that they were destroyed. Nor was there any evidence that the driver was ever asked to submit to a drug test. The fact that the policies of the trucking company and the DOT required the test was not enough to show that it was anything more than a negligent failure to have the test done. Collins v. Benton, 2021 WL 5283974
The plaintiff withstood a motion to dismiss and was permitted to pursue claims for punitive damages against a motor carrier and a maintenance company for injuries suffered when the recently worked on tires came off the truck and struck the plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff had sufficiently alleged facts to support claims of gross negligence on all parties following the repairs. Off to discovery it goes. WIlliams v. Korn, 2021 WL 5233327
The Superior Court of Pennsylvania agreed with an insurer and its insured, an equipment lessor, that its layers of excess insurance provided no coverage to the trucking company lessee. The excess policies were unambiguously not applicable when the lease required coverage only on a primary level for a million dollars. Old Republic Insurance Co. v. Pocono Motor Freight, Inc., 2021 WL 5232422
Lucky for the trucking company, the Court of Appeals in Georgia agreed that the trial court abused its discretion in imposing harsh sanctions on the trucker for failing to maintain data from the GPS system following an accident. The court agreed that there were other ways for the plaintiff to get the information, which was not destroyed in bad faith. An adverse inference that the driver was speeding and routinely did so with the knowledge of the motor carrier was too harsh a penalty. Cowan Systems v. Collier, 2021 WL 5114936
Louisiana does seem to be a venue with numerous reported decisions addressing potential fraud in truck accidents. This month the Court of Appeals in Louisiana denied a motor carrier’s request to subpoena cell phone records from a third party when the defendant believed that the evidence would show that this was a staged accident. The court held that while there was evidence of fraud in the case, the request for the records of the third party was based upon speculation and conjecture. Hendricks v. Wells Fargo Insurance, 2021 WL 4987962
A motor carrier’s efforts to seek dismissal of a punitive damages claim in a suit seeking damages for a fatal accident failed in the Eastern District of Missouri. The motor carrier argued that Missouri law precluded a claim for punitive damages without leave of court. The court held that the Missouri statute was a procedural requirement inapplicable to a federal pleading. The claim could continue. Gaydos v. Gully Transportation, 2021 WL 4963523. In a related decision the court held that a plaintiff could assert alternative theories of liability against the trucking company, who already conceded vicarious liability, when the trucking company could be liable for punitive damages. The claims for negligent hiring and/or retention, negligent entrustment, negligent training, and negligent supervision were permitted to proceed, 2021 WL 52998679
Pay attention to the court deadlines. A trucking company defendant in the Eastern District of Texas waited too long to seek dismissal of claims for gross negligence, which it claimed were unsupported by the evidence. As the defendant waited until the month before trial the court denied the request, allowing the claim for gross negligence to proceed to trial. Sanders v. Sky Transport, 2021 WL 5086064. In a related decision the court agreed with the defendant that most of the police report should be deemed inadmissible, including those portions based on the statements of others, referencing the parties’ insurance coverage, and mentioning the driver’s citation, which was later dismissed. 2021 WL 5088887
The Court of Appeals in Louisiana upheld a trial verdict of $2,508,853 against a trucker and its insurer. The defendants conceded liability for the loss. However as the court has granted the plaintiff’s motion to strike the defendant’s medical experts, there was little opportunity to impact the testimony on damages proffered on behalf of the plaintiff. It is important to read this case as it also addressed the joint defense offered by the insurer on behalf of itself and the motor carrier and driver when there were coverage defenses without reservation. The court concluded that the coverage defenses were waived. The court left open whether the insurer would be liable for more than its policy limit of $1,000,000 based upon its handling of the claim. Jeffries v. Prime Insurance Co., 2021 WL 5102258
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the applicability of different excess policies to a loss, concluding that the district court was correct in its assumption on the priority of coverage. While both policies provided coverage for liability “in excess” of a “retained limit.”, the policies differed in how they defined “retained limit.”, leaving one insurer first in line. While questions of fact remained on the actual allocation, the critical issues were resolved. Great American Insurance Co. v. Employers Mutual Casualty Company, 2021 WL 5356174
When a truck driver moved to Pennsylvania in order to get his CDL license, with no evidence that he ultimately intended to reside there permanently, the court held that North Carolina, where he resided before, was truly his residence for a diversity assessment. The Eastern District of Pennsylvania did not send this back to the state court in Philadelphia, one of the judicial hellholes. Estate of Khalil v. Mursalov, 2021 WL 5356791
Everyone wants to get out of Philadelphia County. The Superior Court in Pennsylvania held that plaintiff failed to establish that the trial court abused its discretion in sustaining the motor carrier’s preliminary objections raising improper venue on the basis that none of them regularly conducted business in Philadelphia County. The court agreed that the transfer should proceed. Dibble v. Page Transportation, 2021 WL 5408725
A police officer injured in a multi-truck crash sought to add in addition potentially non-diverse trucking companies who were part of the accident which injured the plaintiff. While the court denied the motion, it was without prejudice to allow the plaintiff to refile alleging the proper citizenship of each defendant. That fact that the amendment might defeat diversity was not enough to convince the court that it should not allow the amendment in the suit which was previously properly removed. Wilson-Abrams v. Magezi, 2021 WL 4962100
After completion of discovery the District Court in New Mexico agreed that a plaintiff could have its claims for direct and vicarious liability reinstated against the shipper and the broker following a truck accident. Once again the data caused the change, as the court cited, in great detail every driver violation and the various data events impacting the motor carrier. It was enough to allow the claims for negligent hiring. The court also rejected the preemption defense proffered by the broker. Dixon v Stone Truck Line, 2021 WL 5493076
Let’s talk about discovery. The Northern District of West Virginia held that a plaintiff was entitled to get all information from a motor carriers accident register for Defendant’s fleet of trucks from four months before the accident and two years after the accident. Post accident information could be relevant for a claim for punitive damages. Anderson v. FDF Energy Services, Inc. 2021 WL 5443187
When the plaintiff and the defendant trucker collided while merging in a construction zone the Western District of Pennsylvania held that there were questions of fact as to the liability of each party and summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff was inappropriate. The Court held that a reasonable jury could find that the plaintiff breached a duty of care and that his negligence was a cause of the accident. The Court further held that even if the truck driver was negligent —whether per se or otherwise—such negligence would not bar the jury from also finding that the plaintiff was negligent and that negligence was a cause of the accident. Surman v. Payne. 2021 WL 5449231
The Georgia Department of Transportation was permitted to intervene in an employee’s suit against a trucking company for injuries to an employee when his bucket was hit by the driver. The Middle District of Georgia agreed that the DOT was entitled to present its lien against any award after it made worker’s compensation payments. Bryan v. Swisher, 2021 WL 5405783
The same did not hold true in the Western District of Louisiana. While the employer and its insurer were entitled to assert a claim for reimbursement of worker’s compensation fees against the trucker who injured the plaintiff, the amount was below the diversity threshold and the diversity of the parties was not clear. The proposed complaint in intervention set forth an amount in controversy of less than $10,000, so the amount in controversy element (more than $75,000) was not satisfied. The motion and proposed complaint set forth some information about the citizenship intervenors, but did not provide the precise information needed to ensure complete diversity so the request was denied with the right to renew if they could address these concerts. Davis v. Southwest Sales, Inc., 2021 WL 5504732.