Dawg On-It Trucking Pawedcast

20. Jodi Burness: Paralegals, COVR's and How They Work Together

June 26, 2020 Chris Harris, The Safety Dawg Season 1 Episode 20
Dawg On-It Trucking Pawedcast
20. Jodi Burness: Paralegals, COVR's and How They Work Together
Chapters
Dawg On-It Trucking Pawedcast
20. Jodi Burness: Paralegals, COVR's and How They Work Together
Jun 26, 2020 Season 1 Episode 20
Chris Harris, The Safety Dawg

Jodi Burness of Burness Paralegal Services discusses just how Paralegals fighting tickets on your behalf can affect the CVOR and the benefits and keeping the CVOR scoring threshold low. 
Keeping it Safety Dawg Simple!
#paralegal #CVOR #trucking
Jodi can be reached via 
email: [email protected]
phone: 519 285 5438
Follow her on twitter @burnesslaw
http://burnessparalegal.com/

Show Notes Transcript

Jodi Burness of Burness Paralegal Services discusses just how Paralegals fighting tickets on your behalf can affect the CVOR and the benefits and keeping the CVOR scoring threshold low. 
Keeping it Safety Dawg Simple!
#paralegal #CVOR #trucking
Jodi can be reached via 
email: [email protected]
phone: 519 285 5438
Follow her on twitter @burnesslaw
http://burnessparalegal.com/

Jodi Burness (0s):
Shocking. This is going to shock you, but they are not aware of the fact that driver related charges impact their CVOR

Chris, Safety Dawg (10s):
Driver related charges impact your CVOR. That is Jody Burness from Burness Paralegal. And we have the pleasure of having Jody on our 20th episode as a podcast. So with that, let's get right to it.

2 (28s):


Chris, Safety Dawg (33s):
Welcome to dog on it. Trucking podcast. I'm your host, Chris Harris Safety Dawg. And when it comes to trucking safety, that dog is on it. Please. If you would show your appreciation for the podcast by leaving a thumbs up a comment, a rating, it would help me so much. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate you now. Let's get on with

2 (57s):


Chris, Safety Dawg (1m 4s):
Jodi. Welcome to the dog on it. Trucking podcast. Thanks so much for coming on.

Jodi Burness (1m 9s):
Well, thank you Chris. Very much for the invitation.

Chris, Safety Dawg (1m 12s):
Oh, you're always welcome to come here. I've heard you say that. I've heard you speak so many times. Got it. We're where are we? Most recently? I think you were a guest when I last saw you at the IHI S a building.

Jodi Burness (1m 29s):
Yes, that's right. That's for the annual conference.

Chris, Safety Dawg (1m 32s):
Oh, is that okay? See, I forgot what it was, but that was the last time we had spoken, but I've heard you speak several times at the truck drivers,

Jodi Burness (1m 44s):
General meetings, staff needs, or the, the fleet safety council, monthly meetings.

Chris, Safety Dawg (1m 49s):
That's what it is. Fleet safety council, monthly meetings. And Charlie

Jodi Burness (1m 54s):
Chapter.

Chris, Safety Dawg (1m 57s):
Are you a member of the Hamilton chapter? Hey,

Jodi Burness (2m 0s):
I don't know. I don't, I don't even remember how I ended up there to be honest because I'm from London. So I ended up in Grimsby. I have no idea it's been so long, but I think they have the only one that extended their arms and I showed up and then I just never left.

Chris, Safety Dawg (2m 14s):
Oh, there you go. Yeah. In one of our episodes, just before you, we had Charlie Charlemagne bliss from IHSA, and then he was talking about the driver's safety council. So

Jodi Burness (2m 29s):
Yes, great organization.

Chris, Safety Dawg (2m 31s):
It is. Tell us about Bernice paralegal.

Jodi Burness (2m 35s):
So Vanessa legal,

Chris, Safety Dawg (2m 37s):
I was going to say, how long have you been in business and that type of stuff?

Jodi Burness (2m 41s):
So I've been a paralegal for 23 years prior to Burnett paralegal. I was ENB paralegal, but through licensing with the law society, it was a complicated transition, but we adopted Burnett paralegal as the company name, but I have been representing truck drivers and carriers for over two decades now. And it is my absolute passion. I am from the trucking industry. My father was a truck driver. My brother's a truck driver. My aunt's a truck driver, trucking is in my blood, but I was never going to drive a truck.

Jodi Burness (3m 15s):
So naturally my love of the law was a very comfortable fit with trucking. And many years ago, I had a chance to go into a courtroom and represent a carrier on a push rod charge, which is the bulk of many of our charges, but I won that charge and I was hooked. Okay. And it's been a hell of a ride.

Chris, Safety Dawg (3m 40s):
That's awesome. So I didn't know that you were so closely tied to the trucking. That's true.

Jodi Burness (3m 46s):
Oh yeah. Yeah. I mean, we joke and say that I, I grew up inside the truck. I mean, my father drove for better beef for a number of years between Toronto and Montreal. And I mean, I was in that bunk and he shot IHS. I got, I mean, that was my, that was, that was a treat, you know? And so I, it's an industry that I know inherently from the inside out and coming from the legal vantage points. It's just another component that I wanted to know a lot about.

Jodi Burness (4m 17s):
I've had wonderful opportunities in those years, everybody from carriers extending the opportunity to go and, you know, get under trucks and get on trucks and, you know, see different types of loads. So it's, every day is a learning opportunity.

Chris, Safety Dawg (4m 35s):
That's, that's huge. And let's change subjects a little bit. And you had mentioned that you were fighting a push rod charged. That was your first case. Why should a carrier fight a charge?

Jodi Burness (4m 52s):
So realistically there is there's many reasons, but a carrier will want to fight a charge primarily to protect that CVOR. So, you know, I take it for a push rod charges 400 bucks and they are going to spend a considerable amount more than that to go through the fighting process. But the reason you want to do it is because it's your only opportunity retroactively to protect your CVOR, everything else, collisions infections, those are all proactive approaches.

Jodi Burness (5m 24s):
The only thing that you can react to is conviction points. Only way you get rid of conviction points is by mitigating or eliminating them in a courtroom. Yes.

Chris, Safety Dawg (5m 34s):
Well, there's there's yeah. Once you're charged, the only way to get a kind of uncharged is the fight, the ticket

Jodi Burness (5m 42s):
That's it that's that there is no other mechanism. And that's why I say people say, Oh, well, you know, I want to fight collision points. That process is so complicated. And the chances of you being successful are so minimal, that, that in my view is not where you want to send money. People say, I want to, I want to fight infection points. Well, there is no mechanism to find inspection points. So you might as well forget about that. And what's less conviction points. And how do you defend against those? Or how do you prevent them? Wow. I mean, there is the training component, so you don't get charged, but if the charge happened, then the only way you can do anything about that is to defend against that charge.

Jodi Burness (6m 20s):
Whether it be a ticket or a summons, you're going to have to eventually go into a forum and do something constructive to, to disprove or to, or mitigate that allegation.

Chris, Safety Dawg (6m 33s):
Well, plus, as you know, the collisions are worth 40% of the CVR overall violation rate convictions are also worth 40 big ones. And then inspections are only worth 20. So I know myself, I wouldn't spend the money to fight inspections when they're only worth 20, but my God to help get rid of it, probably 40% is huge.

Jodi Burness (6m 59s):
It's huge. I mean, it's almost half of your overall violation rates. And I think the unfortunate thing is that a lot of carriers don't understand the numbers. They don't understand this system of the CVOR and, and I don't necessarily blame them. It is a very complicated system. It was one thing prior to 2007, it became something else after that date. And we've all been playing catch up and the information is not readily available. And so that you can defend the charge on your own, obviously that is set as a constitutional rights, but going into a courtroom, you are at a disadvantage, right?

Jodi Burness (7m 38s):
If you are self-represented that judge, isn't there to help you, that prosecutor's not there to help you. Most certainly that cork isn't there to help you. And you are assuming the law one way without recognizing, or being able to see around the corner. And you're at a complete disadvantage. And so there are times where, regardless of what you do, at least you're taking the step to defend yourself or defend your company or have that driver defend him or herself. But at the end of the day, if you're going to get to that point, at least higher competent representation so that you are learning from the experience, because at the end of the day, the person that's representing you should be preparing you so that you don't need them.

Jodi Burness (8m 22s):
That's in my view, that is my philosophy.

Chris, Safety Dawg (8m 25s):
Well, many carriers Mmm. Hire paralegals so that they don't have to learn how to defend themselves. And I'm kind of in that a belief pattern, because many carriers you already mentioned don't understand the CVU are, for instance, I think that's fundamental in a safety department or for a small carrier to understand that mechanism. And then why should I understand the court thing? You know, I want to train my drivers not to get tickets.

Chris, Safety Dawg (8m 55s):
And when that happens, it's going to happen. But when it happens, I'd rather hire, hire you. Somebody like you, that is extremely skilled. I mean, gosh, you said you got 26 years,

Jodi Burness (9m 6s):
23,

Chris, Safety Dawg (9m 7s):
23 years. That's a lot of experience. If I went into court myself, who do you think is going to do a better job?

Jodi Burness (9m 14s):
Well, it's not, it's not just sacrifice it's. So when I say being, being properly represented, obviously you have that person should know all the consequences that you're facing, right? So that's for a carrier or, or, or commercial driver, it's the CDR system. So they should no, the system in and out, they should know how many points are at risk. If you're going to mitigate the charge, what's those points look like, but at the same time, know what those points will do to, you know, how to calculate your overall violation rate on a theoretical equation.

Jodi Burness (9m 49s):
And, and that's, I think what a lot of people are missing on top of all of that, when I talk about competent representation, I'm not just saying, I'm going to take your file. You're going to be kept in the dark. I'm going to go into the courtroom, wave a magic wand, come out the other end. And you think I'm amazing that that may be a result, but that's in my view, you've missed the Mark in terms of what you should be getting from that representation. I like to say, we joke all the time here that our motto is, is education through litigation's because I want to drive those highways too.

Jodi Burness (10m 22s):
And if, and if part of that is making sure that you, as a carrier and my clients are apprised of how that charge happened, what the law really is and what you should have done to avoid the charge in the first place. Then I think I'm doing my part to keep the roads safe and right. I mean, we deal with very serious charges such as its fatalities, we'll off on the vehicle. And then we deal with, you know, other mechanical and load security issues, et cetera. I mean anything from highway traffic act, but, but those, those biggies, the unsafe, those are the ones that are going to present the greatest learning opportunity.

Jodi Burness (10m 59s):
Those are the ones that you want your legal representative to tell you, okay, this is exactly how the charge happened. It would, I think it would blind you for us to know how many carriers I will ask on the phone on a daily and say, okay, tell me about the charge. And they will give me a summary of what the charge is and how they got there. And then I get the disclosure, however months later, and I compare my notes to what the disclosure is. And I'm thinking to myself, they had no idea. They had no idea of the severity of the situation. They had no idea how they got there. They completely misconstrued what was told to them.

Jodi Burness (11m 31s):
And again, I'm not saying that the carrier misunderstood, it could very well be the officer misinformed them. And so, I mean, it's a very complicated process. A law is designed that way, right? We don't want people comfortable in a courtroom, right. Because that makes you want to come back. So, so again, you know, jokingly though that the education through litigation philosophy looks at preparing the carrier to change, right? So you, so the CVR system tells you where your weaknesses are, right?

Jodi Burness (12m 2s):
Because that's what that CDR does. It tells you where, where the trends are, where your missteps are, what drivers, you know, not doing or doing. And then you take that, that, that, that, that post event, then you take the charge and I combine those two and I say, okay, guys, you've got an inspection issue. You've got drivers that are not doing inspections. That's how you ended up with, I push her on charts. You've got drivers that aren't checking your brakes, et cetera. How do you not? Then the client says, well, now what do I do?

Jodi Burness (12m 32s):
Well, I put them in touch with people like you. And then they develop training systems, et cetera. The end of the day, the goal is so that I never get a call again from those people. That's the goal. And I know that that sounds like a terrible business model, but until trucking is no longer an industry, I'm fine. So, so anyway, that's yeah, that's sort of a well rounded idea behind our philosophy

Chris, Safety Dawg (12m 58s):
And that's, that's really good. I don't wow. Right? Because I don't work for a carrier any longer. Right. I don't have the chance to appear in court anymore. Yay. And I don't want, you know, but you're right. You know, a lot of people don't understand the whole process. And when I say, why aren't you fighting your charges? Well, God, it costs a lot of money. I said, yeah, it's going to cost you money. But if you hire the right paralegal and tell me, if you agree with what I'm telling my clients, you hire the right paralegal.

Chris, Safety Dawg (13m 32s):
And they will either no, what to plead guilty to because you know, this charge maybe at six points, but if you negotiate and you pleaded guilty to something else, it's either a lesser amount of points or something. Or sometimes you can legally defer the case coming to in front of a judge, you know, delaying. And again, people don't understand the advantage of delaying it.

Jodi Burness (14m 2s):
And I think that's out in the industry. There's also this mentality and I've seen this hundreds of times where I get a new client and they, they adopt this mentality that, well, I don't want to be, I don't wanna, I don't wanna make any waves. I don't want to be seen as an instigator. I just want the ministry to think that I'm a good carrier and I pay my tickets. But the reality is the adverse is true. The ministry of transportation wants you challenging your charges. And the reason they want you doing that is because a, they understand how the system works.

Jodi Burness (14m 33s):
But more importantly, they also understand the value of litigation. They too are in the same philosophy boat that you will learn by entering, entering into a courtroom. And I mean, I've had lots of carriers, you know, where he's got, you know, safety representatives coming from, you know, various departments and they come into court and it's a wake up call. It's a wake up call for them to see what happens when they don't do their job. And, and that, again, takes a chapter out of the philosophy book of education through litigation.

Jodi Burness (15m 9s):
And this is, this is, this is all we have. I mean, it's, it's power through knowledge and the left, you know, the worse off you're going to be. And so you certainly can't approach the trucking industry. I don't know if you can approach any industry, but I think trucking is at the top of the list with, you know, the ostrich approach. You cannot put your head in the sand, you have to, you have to be a it to be hungry for knowledge and anybody who's not is not going to have a CPR for long my opinion, but I'm paid to have opinion.

Jodi Burness (15m 40s):
So I'm allowed to do that.

Chris, Safety Dawg (15m 43s):
And you're absolutely right. I mean, you've probably been to st. Paul's street. I've been to st. Paul street on both interviews and show cause hearings. Mmm. They're not pleasant. And they usually happen, well, the show cause hearings, we know generally happen when you're over a hundred percent. Right. But the audits happen when you're over 50% of your overall violation. That's right.

Jodi Burness (16m 10s):
You've got the ministry breathing down your neck. That's one part. Okay. Now, how does you deal with that at the same time that you've got an insurance, your insurance renewal is up and they're looking at your CVOR and they're going either a you're uninsurable or B it's going it's cost prohibitive to put a truck on the road because your insurance costs are so high because your CVOR is in the toilet. And I think that, that that's something that a lot of carriers no, too late.

Jodi Burness (16m 43s):
But if you, if you've arrived at the, at st. Paul street and the ministry had a enforcement office Mmm. It too little too late. And in my view, I mean, it's very, very difficult to come back from that. It's difficult to come back from that for a number of reasons. But I think the, the most notable is that bad carriers. And that's the problem with the warning letter, right? So warning letter is the flag. It's the, if you're supposed to say, okay, everybody stop what we're doing. We've got a problem.

Jodi Burness (17m 13s):
We need to fix it. They don't want you to them about how you're going to just fix the problem. And a lot of people don't take that step and then ended up having to answer to the ministry while the insurance company is in the background going, Oh, by the way, your premiums have increased, you know, by 25 or 30%

Chris, Safety Dawg (17m 31s):
For the, those who are listening, if you don't know the warning letter Jody's talking about comes out when your overall violation rate goes above 35%. Okay. It's kind of the first intervention level. I think where all of a sudden, they're going to start paying more attention to you at the scales. They've warned you to start looking at your CVOR system. And then at 50%, I think you're going to see an increase for sure of activity at the scales, because they're getting ready to come in and knock on your door.

Jodi Burness (18m 4s):
That's right. But no, it's important to know focus that the warning letter is not only reserved for the excess of 35% of your overall violation rate. It is also now something standardized the administry transportation for critical events. So if you had an impound that qualifies as a critical event, you've had a fatality or you've had a significant damage accidents, that's going to trigger a warning. So, and we're seeing them more and more, and I've got clients that are, you know, they, they have a 12% their eyes on the prize, right?

Jodi Burness (18m 37s):
Overall violation rates. That's the only thing they think about because they listened to me well enough, but then they go, Oh, I have a warning letter. I thought, I thought it was supposed to be over 35. And I say, no, there's, you know, there's obviously a foundation, a purpose from the ministry doing that, but that's something that we're seeing almost standardized now. And so it's something that a lot of carriers need to be aware that that works, that letter's coming. And obviously it goes in your file. So should you be that actor that does find themselves in an interview situation?

Jodi Burness (19m 11s):
Guess who's gonna, what's the first thing they're going to take out of that file. It's going to be that warning letter.

Chris, Safety Dawg (19m 15s):
Well, I mean, have you represented or not represented, but have you been at carrier as well? The audits were going on,

Jodi Burness (19m 25s):
I have many, many years ago. And you have to appreciate that. That could thrust me into the situation where I'm now a witness for my clients. And I can't represent my client and be a witness for them. So I sat back and, and so I think that a lot of them are now prepared right through people like, like you would like to like the system that you're developing a lot more people are educated as to what happens in an audit, what your obligations are, what your rights are.

Jodi Burness (19m 57s):
And so, so I like I'm seeing a very different, Mmm, very different number of charges, different types of charges and a different mentality that goes along with the audit process from the carrier and the ministry perspective,

Chris, Safety Dawg (20m 12s):
What do you mean by different types and different amount of charges? Are they going up down which way

Jodi Burness (20m 20s):
It depends on your, your jurisdiction. So it's all right. I mean, different parts of the province are going to see different auditors and they will have a different motivation. And so there's going to be numbers or be different. And the charters types will be different. If I had to give an average, I would say, of course, still hours of service is exactly where the ministry head. That is the majority of charges that we see. So it's going to be definitely not, not so much over hours anymore, but definitely the paperwork that attaches to the hours of service.

Jodi Burness (20m 56s):
We see a lot of those types of charges. And we are seeing a lot of audits that are conducted as a result of complaints versus carriers that are exceeding 50%. So that's something it's. And I think it's coming down to manpower. Well, based on the guys that, you know, already have a problem, somebody has already reported them as having a problem. They know exactly where to look. And so we're talking about man hours are reduced and charges are, are ultimately late and they're very focused.

Jodi Burness (21m 30s):
Yeah. It may be just one driver that they're looking at.

Chris, Safety Dawg (21m 34s):
Yeah. I hadn't heard that they are. Mmm. I don't know that they're doing fewer. I would imagine they're probably doing fewer audits as well because you've mentioned manpower.

Jodi Burness (21m 47s):
Okay.

Chris, Safety Dawg (21m 48s):
I think we're in a, we're taping this during COVID-19 the pandemic. And I really wonder how this is one of the things in the back of my head all the time as our governments, both federal and provincial have been, I think very generous to us all financially during this, I wonder what the heck it's going to do with our tax structure later on and how it's going to affect things like the ministry and their manpower and their ability to do their job.

Jodi Burness (22m 20s):
Right. I mean, remember just before COVID 19 a was a thing, there was this looming threat of at MTO strike, right. That was something that, that had been publicized. That is a lot of officers were talking about that. And obviously COVID kind of hushed everybody, but you know, these are, these are realities. These are definite concerns, I think, in the enforcement industry. And it'll be interesting to see where the balance of resources and up is it going to be more audits are because I don't know.

Jodi Burness (22m 58s):
I, again, I mean, I've been doing, you know, defending carriers from audit charges for as long as I've been doing this. And I can honestly say that it doesn't create the behavioral change that the ministry thinks it does, but roadsides roadside inspections do, right, because of all the downtime and the involvement of the driver. And there's just so much more to it that the catalyst for change, because that's really what they're trying to do.

Jodi Burness (23m 31s):
They being the ministry. So the catalyst for change, I think it's much more prevalent in the roadside charge versus the audit charge. The audit charge comes down to numbers and money and that's not effective.

Chris, Safety Dawg (23m 48s):
And the other part of an audit unfortunately, is the rating. And right now with insurance, the outcome of an audit is I believe critical in this heart insurance market. Because if you get a conditional rating, yeah. Very tough to get a renewal nowadays.

Jodi Burness (24m 6s):
It is. And I mean, I have one cure that I dealt with this morning and, and I mean, he's gone, he's in the low twenties. I want to say 21, 22% OVR. And I mean, not that considering it's the commodity that he hauls, but it's conditional. It's conditional because she was, he failed an audit, but he does a lot. It's something like four years ago. And you know, and he didn't realize the value of what, what that conditional rating did for him. He's thinking I'm not worried about it.

Jodi Burness (24m 36s):
You know? So what it consists there, I've had the same contracts I've had for 10 years and are going anywhere. And I sent him, you know, you're paying a premium because you have that, that, that thank you rating. You're, you're paying more money to your insurance company than you ordinarily would, if you would just pass an audit and become satisfactory because he's ready to go, but he doesn't see the value in it. And, and I mean, you and I are on the same page about this. And that is that nobody should be inviting the ministry in to do an audit unless they've cleaned their house.

Jodi Burness (25m 9s):
And that means you have somebody come in and do an independent audit before you invite them in. Because I think the proof is in the pudding, meaning every charge I've ever seen or every audit I've ever seen, we're curious have invite, have invited the ministry. The scrutiny level is so much more intense because the ministry is expecting your house to be clean. And the minute they find something, it's, you know, it's the mushroom cloud. Yep.

Chris, Safety Dawg (25m 36s):
Oh, sorry. I just hit the wrong button. Let me get back there. The regarding audits you'd mentioned that you believe the most frequent charges are in the hours of service area now,

Jodi Burness (25m 50s):
Now, and have always been okay.

Chris, Safety Dawg (25m 53s):
Yeah, because obviously with the event of ELD, it should make it easier for the carrier to do their own audits and make sure that they're in compliance. Are you finding that it's working?

Jodi Burness (26m 8s):
So to be honest, we are not seeing a lot of carriers that have committed to the ELD fully. Oh, getting audited. Right. And, and what I say after you got a lot of carriers that are going on about this hybrid ELD paper system going on, and that's a recipe for disaster because it's confusing and it's tough to follow as an, as an in house audit. If you're trying to audit your own documents, you've got the ELD system, you've got your papers, it's disaster.

Jodi Burness (26m 41s):
So that my view is a low hanging fruit, right? The ministry knows this because you've gone through with scale. The minute you go through an inspection station, you've opened the book to the ministry and the ministry is creating a record on that CVR. And that is all being tallied. And that helps an industry come on at a time. Mmm. I think it will come to an end. I think that the, the hours of service service audit charges for, for those carriers that are still either hybrid or fully paper, eventually we'll come to an end with full ELD.

Jodi Burness (27m 21s):
But I don't, I don't know if I don't know where the end is.

Chris, Safety Dawg (27m 27s):
When you heard, just out of curiosity that you heard when Elda might be mandated for Canada or for Ontario. Yep.

Jodi Burness (27m 34s):
So the date was, was June 20, 22, right. Hold up, of course, is how do you make, or how do we select one provider over the other? What is the process to say? You know, is it, is it ABC ELD or is it one, two, three ELD, that's going to be the selected provider. And that is the holdup. Right. We don't want to go the American system. We know that doesn't work. That's a disaster.

Chris, Safety Dawg (28m 6s):
Sorry, any American listeners, but the ELD system down there.

Jodi Burness (28m 10s):
Oh no.

Chris, Safety Dawg (28m 13s):
Yeah. It really didn't work.

Jodi Burness (28m 16s):
Right. Excellent. Excellent. Yeah, I know. So that, so that's the hold up.

Chris, Safety Dawg (28m 23s):
Yeah. And I've heard that the, well, actually not stats cam who's and it was the people that are going to be monitoring the ELD systems. They've got the, the framework now for how to improve an ELD system. And I heard that they're actually open to accepting ELD systems now and starting to evaluate. So

Jodi Burness (28m 48s):
That's interesting. And I mean, you know, we see, we see a lot of carriers that are subscribing to the ELD system and you're, you know, you're taking old dog treats teaching them new tricks. You know, you got old drivers. I, I feel for them. Mmm. But you have a lot of enforcement. Mmm. Not so much into you. I want to say that there's a good educational format for the MTO, especially in the past 12 to 16 months for ELD, but original and provincial enforcement is not ready and they don't know what they're doing.

Jodi Burness (29m 29s):
And so unfortunately you see a lot of illegitimate charges, meaning that they simply made a mistake in the interpretation of the legislation. And I don't, I don't stomach those very well. I mean, the trucking industry is tough enough. And then you bring that into the mix. Somebody comes quite passionate. And so you might want to mute my mic because I, yeah. So I get excited when I see those types of charges and, and that's always what you see in a transition period, right?

Jodi Burness (30m 1s):
The same applied to spit. So when the fifth rule came in, you had everybody thinking that it was one way and you had, you know, so called experts and, Oh, we're still going through that. So change is not easy.

Chris, Safety Dawg (30m 15s):
No spiff. Do you remember what the acronym is for those people who like myself? I know it has to do with the self steering axles, but what is,

Jodi Burness (30m 24s):
So the fifth stands for self or sorry. Mmm. Oh, safe, productive infrastructure friendly

Chris, Safety Dawg (30m 33s):
There. Let's see. I've forgotten.

Jodi Burness (30m 35s):
Well, but that's what it stands for. And you know, and again, it's a, it is a confusing piece of legislation, a good piece of legislation, but conceivably, there are legislative gaps just as there are with any piece of legislation that's new and we're still trying to work them out. I mean, think about it. That's been since 2005. Yeah. And you know, you still say stuff and people go, what are you talking about?

Chris, Safety Dawg (31m 4s):
Right. Unless you had multiaxial trailers greater than a 10 of them, you may not even know what the heck we're talking about. Really.

Jodi Burness (31m 14s):
That's true. Yeah

Chris, Safety Dawg (31m 15s):
Know. So one last thing you mentioned to me, you, you can't, you don't fight, you can't win. Yeah. What do you mean by that?

Jodi Burness (31m 29s):
That will take us right back to the beginning of this. And, and people I'll ask you the question you can't, if you don't fight, you can't win. The court system is much like the lottery, right? You can't win the lottery if you don't find the tickets. And it's much the same thing. When you're looking at defending a charge, there is no possibility for you to walk out with any change in your current situation. If you don't take the opportunity to defend against the charge, and it's true, you may not win. That's absolutely true. I mean, the burden is on the prosecution to prove that charge beyond a reasonable doubt, but some of these charges are quite simplistic in nature, and it doesn't take much to get there.

Jodi Burness (32m 9s):
Having said that in my view, if that charge carries points, you must, they send the charge regardless of what you perceive to be your defense at the early stage of deciding whether you should fight it or not. Because I would tell you 50% of the cases where, where we don't know what the defense is, come with disclosure time, we've got one and you know, and it's viable. And whether it be evidentiary base, in other words, I've got witnesses.

Jodi Burness (32m 39s):
I call, I've got cross examination of witnesses that may produce something. Or we proceed on a more technical defense, meaning there's something wrong in the law. And we can argue that. So the, the reality is there, the law is on the prosecution side. That is the truth. But at the end of the day, you want take the opportunity. You're going to learn something with the right legal representation. The end of the day, the ministry is watching.

Jodi Burness (33m 10s):
And when it comes time, you will have something to say about the efforts that you've taken to at least mitigate your CVOR. That's the only thing you can do.

Chris, Safety Dawg (33m 20s):
Yeah. And I think, you know, if people take one thing away from this interview with you and I thank you very much for that is you've got to learn how to protect your CVOR. Yeah. Because, you know, to say, it'll, it will put you out of business right now, either the insurance industry or the MTO, if it gets bad enough. And conditional ratings right now with insurance are just unacceptable. And so

Jodi Burness (33m 49s):
It is, I mean, the reality is that the ministry of course, is aware of all the carriers out there with, we say conditional, but of course, you know that there are carriers with trucks on the road that are unsatisfactories, that's shocking. And the ministry of course has to focus on, on them. First. I think there is a prioritization within the ministry structure of who they're going to focus on when, but don't assume that just because you have a low overall violation rate, that the ministry can't come calling, you know, there, there, there are many, many factors of consideration.

Jodi Burness (34m 27s):
And, but a lot of you are not clear on our value driver related charges impact their CVOR. They think that, Oh, well, you know, we don't need to defend the driver charge because he's on his own or she's on her own. And I think to myself, are you crazy? I mean, that, that church carries five points and you're just going to let them go out there, defending themselves, right. Because many, many drivers can't afford legal representation. They're just going to let them dictate what happens to their CVOR. And, and I've, I've used this analogy often.

Jodi Burness (34m 59s):
I said, I'm letting a driver dictate what happens. And you caring only about you is mostly trying to cut the grass when the house is on fire. Like, what are you doing? You've got a very caustic situation that can only be cured by focusing on the whole problem. And a lot of carriers miss that, Mark. And you know what, even if you show them on their CPR, there is they're very reticent to, to believe you. And I believe it's because way back when that wasn't a thing, right?

Jodi Burness (35m 30s):
I mean, I, I can't remember the CVR when I very first started. I mean, it really caught my attention in Oh five Oh six Oh seven. That's when I really started to delve into it and understand it. But prior to that, it wasn't something that ministry really kept tabs on. And it wasn't something that consequently carriers cared much about. And there was a residual effect of that even today.

Chris, Safety Dawg (35m 54s):
Right. And I think it's just more recent in the last five years, insurance carriers have cared about it, but in the last two, there are companies out there who have, I'm sure, you know, that insurance companies have what they call filed rules with the government. And some of them have filed rule saying we will not insure a conditional carrier. Okay. Which is devastated anyways, sorry to wrap this up. Cause we're getting,

Jodi Burness (36m 24s):
Oh my gosh,

Chris, Safety Dawg (36m 32s):
What, what else is on your mind before we close out?

Jodi Burness (36m 38s):
I am. I think, you know, in a summary sentence, carriers should seek out free legal consultation because that is in my view, the least expensive and most effective thing that they can do as part of the learning process. So you got to charge, don't assume, you know, everything seek out competent and a free consultation because anybody worth their salt will offer that to you.

Jodi Burness (37m 11s):
And from there, that's going to give you our propel you in one direction or the other. I mean, we've got a lot of curators to spend a lot of money defending charges that don't matter. Right. And then, and then they, they failed to recognize the ones to do. And this that I might need, the free consultation is a stepping stone to moving forward.

Chris, Safety Dawg (37m 29s):
Well, in, in credit to you, every time I've been with a carrier and we've sent something over to you, we always get in a timely fashion, a quote back with the defense and you know, so the carrier can make a legit decision on what they do,

Jodi Burness (37m 48s):
Bullying fully informed decisions. That is our model. Yep. Yeah.

Chris, Safety Dawg (37m 53s):
So I appreciate that. And often carriers will come to me because I do the CPR calculations and I can say, okay, if you get convicted, this is what it's going to do. And I can take a look at that for them. So

Jodi Burness (38m 7s):
Absolutely. And that's part of it, right? It's just, it's a risk reward balance and so many carriers or in the dark. And I get it. I understand it. I mean, I, I couldn't imagine the logistical components to the trucking business, the business of trucking. And then you had the ministry component to what you're trying to do the it's a lot and it does require properly competent people

Chris, Safety Dawg (38m 36s):
Helping, but you have to know, you need the help to begin with. Yeah. It's so tough to make a profit right now. There's so many things to keep as a trucking company owner to keep their eye on CVS in charges. And that's only one thing it's tough right now, Jodi. And I mean, it's been tough for yeah. Yeah. It hasn't been much fun for him. I'm hoping after COVID is over. Maybe the fund will return.

Jodi Burness (39m 6s):
Not really.

Chris, Safety Dawg (39m 8s):
It's unfortunate, but I'm predicting that some trucking companies won't make it through. I don't know if you saw the news today, the day that we're taping this a Hertz, the car rental company in the States has filed for bankruptcy. So I believe that. And that's because all of a sudden there's no rentals, you know? Yeah. Yeah. And so there's many companies and trucking companies are highly leveraged organizations generally with big loans because of the price of the equipment.

Chris, Safety Dawg (39m 38s):
There's not a lot of profit

Jodi Burness (39m 42s):
It's. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, and then you've got equipment issues. You've got human resource issues. I mean, drivers, God love them. They are a breed and they're job. They're not easy to deal with. And you know, there's, there's, there's many different types of driver. And of course we only see the bad office. I joke all the time and I only have innocent clients, but right. But it's there, that's definitely a consideration is it's these are not machines.

Jodi Burness (40m 17s):
They are not machines driving machines. And I, and that's not an easy part to deal with either. Yeah.

Chris, Safety Dawg (40m 24s):
That's great. And Jodie, I just want to say thank you so much for being on the, the dog on it. Shocking 20th episode podcast. So thanks so much. Alright. Any last words?

Jodi Burness (40m 39s):
Mmm. Anybody that needs us Burnett for legal physics?

Chris, Safety Dawg (40m 44s):
Well, we'll have all your contact info in the show notes below. You can reach out to Jody at any time. Thanks, Jody so much.

Jodi Burness (40m 51s):
All right.

3 (40m 54s):
I hope you love the show as much as I did. Please leave us a, like a thumbs up a review, a comment, a rating. If ABC, thank you so much. And I do really appreciate your time and join us again next week for another exciting injury.

2 (41m 12s):
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