You can Brendan Here:
AccidentPlan.com (Crash Call Boogie)
Madgaines Live, Cassandra Gaines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMRPhmMKc8E
All right. Sounds good. Welcome to another episode of theDawg On-It Trucking Pawedcast. My name is Chris Harris and I'm joined this week by Brendan Brendan Dawson. Welcome to the Dawg On-It Trucking Pawedcast. How are you? My friend. I'm very well. Thank you, Christian. Thanks for the honor of being on your, on your, on your show today. Hey, it's perfect. I'm I'm so excited. I, we met a couple of years ago, more than a couple four or five years ago when you came to Canada for the truck truck, world trade show, that's where we first met. And then recently I saw you on a podcast, Cassandra Gaines and Matt Gaines. I will put the link to this episode, to her episode in the show notes below, because it was a great watch just for the listeners and the viewers. There was a lawyer, there was Brendan and Cassandra is a lawyer. Is she not? She is a lawyer. She's a used to be on the defense counsel for Schneider national. And she is now focusing her own consultancy, her own legal, legal practice on a brokerage and cartel. And the whole thing, the three, and actually JD was there and J D works for, or works with Cassandra and just a ton of fun. It was a great interview talking about nuclear verdicts, I guess, but near the end, you dropped some bombs on there and I want to get into that, but not right now, but I, you, you talked briefly about the driver trainer and you talked briefly about truck driver pay. So I want our viewers and our listeners to hang in there, to listen to Brendan about those two subjects, but first Brendan Dawson, who in the heck are you tell our listeners about yourself? Well, thank you, Chris. I am the founder and CEO of a company called accident plan and accident plan is an accident management software that enables the driver at the scene of an accident to take control of the situation. Control the narrative, control the claim because when, when the trucking company gets in an accident or a driver gets in an accident, no matter what the driver is always the first and often the only person on the scene. So we've built and created a tool to help that driver manage the situation, maintain custody and control of the data and helps the motor carrier and their insurers to take an active position in the claim rather than a reactive position on the claim. All right, so you've got a software product revolving around collisions. What made you, or where did you get the idea them to do? Where's the need? Here's the thing Chris has before I started this company, I was in the, I was the director of transportation for a company here in Denver called the mobile TV group. And we provided mobile broadcasting services to the NBA, NHL and major league baseball. And so it was really, high-risk a high-risk situation with very complicated logistics. And I was going through risk management review with our insurer and they asked me, they said, well, you're, you've got great loss runs. You're doing a great job, but what worries you? And I said, well, what worries me is how do you manage accidents eighth, if it's my job to keep the company in a defensible position, and I've got somebody that's had an accident in some other part of the country, how am I supposed to deal with picking up this information and, and, and keeping the company in a defensible position and their answer would be one. The second was they sent me a big box of deeds. Everybody familiar with this, the accident kit, I see your lap there, Christian and inside the kid is this disposable 35 millimeter camera and a little plastic clip board with some forms. And there may have been a golf pencil. And when I sent these off all my trucks, when they would come back months later, I would find the, the, the, the zippered pouch full of nuts and bolts and fuses and spare lamps and things like that. And so the zipper pouch was actually more valuable than anything else. And I thought there's gotta be a better way. There has to be a way to tie this information all together with technology and bring it to the risk management team right away, rather than waiting weeks or days or months to get it. And so we built a software, a mobile software in the driver's hands. We asked that driver questions. And when the driver answers a question or takes a picture or records an interview, all that data shoots straight back to the network, so that the safety people, the risk management, people like yourself, then have the opportunity to see it in real time and make real time proactive defense decisions. So describe a little bit more about the software and exactly how it works. You talked about it takes pictures. Yep. I'm assuming it replaced that clipboard and the golf pencil. Is that right? That's correct. It's all of your basic crash management practices, all of your best practices that you're already teaching your clients. And we put it into a mobile software so that all the driver has to do when they, when they, when they first start, the situation is scroll, swipe, and tap. They, we walk them through the entire process. I can show you right here. It's very simple. They simply tap. We ask them a question that they tap the answer and then notifications go out to all the safety managers, all the risk people, all the insurance people. And then we just walk them through the situation with, you know, making sure they've called nine one one, making sure we want to know whether they're injured or not. We want to know whether anybody else is injured. So we asked the question, they tapped the answer, the answer, shoots back to the network. And everybody's in the know at the same time. That's awesome. I mean, it's gotta be a huge advantage to everyone. If I was managing an accident to know what the heck is going on, rather than having to wait sometimes hours before I talked to the driver. Sure. You wait sometimes hours. In fact, until that driver calls you, you don't even know that an accident has happened. And so that driver may, they, they don't, they don't necessarily remember what they learned in training or an orientation because they're under a great deal of stress. Even in a minor collision, they're under a lot of stress. And the one thing I know that all drivers have in common is that they're human. And as humans, when we get under stress, our cognitive thought tends to go out the window and we rely on our primitive brain thinking our fight or flight. So our job that action plan is to focus that driver's attention back onto the task at hand re-engage those cognitive thoughts. So, because in the past it was all done by telephone interview. So imagine Chris, you're on the phone and you're trying to take notes when the driver's on a cell connection, in some other part of the country with the wind blowing and snow falling, and other people tried to talk to them and they're trying to give you information. So you're only taking down part of the information and you can't hear everything. And then the driver gets distracted somewhere else. Well, this now helps them focus on what they have to do. It's just our training manual with a, with a process that they just follow simply and get the best information, because we believe that the defense starts now. It starts every day. Every time we turn the key to our truck or open the door to our shop, we should be thinking about that defense. And if we, if we start that every day, maybe we wouldn't be in such a serious insurance crisis right now. That's our philosophy, our tenant, our operating principles. So what, before we switched subjects, anything else we need to know about accident plan? And of course, we'll have a link to the website in the show notes below. So if you want to find out more about accident, plan, click the link down there, but Brendan, what else do we need to know? Well, here's the thing of, you know, trucking are your industry. Chris is now has now in recent years, seen a great advent of technology, but what I've learned both as a user of the technology and a producer of the technology is the technology is only as good as the people behind it. And so what we're building on top of accident plan is an organization called the trucking defense network where all of the defenders of the trucking company. And I mean, the, the risk managers, the safety people like yourself, the insurance carriers, the insurance brokers, the legal team, the forensics team all will need to know this information at the same time. So we're linked bringing these people into a group, representing the motor carriers within the group so that all of the appropriate people can respond. At the same time. We've got investigative ability to square up for a level three severity accident. Our investigators can go out and draw a circle on the map around that. And then we will scan all social media. That's taking place around that accident, further looking for additional witnesses, additional forensic evidence, locating traffic cameras, things like that. So we start building that defense file at the moment the accident happens. See, and that is what is missing so often in the fence is the missed opportunities because we waited too damn long to do any of this stuff. We it's it's, you know, part, we have to bear our own responsibility. And Chris, I mentioned that in, in the, in the conversation with Joe freedom and Cassandra, we have a habit of not wanting to admit that we have accidents. And so, as a result, we're constantly starting on the back foot. We're constantly, we're constantly backpedaling our defense and everybody, every sports fan knows that the best defense is a good offense. And so when we can start our offense, now we are ahead of the game. We want to get ahead of them. I don't know if you are familiar with the, the HTRI the American transportation research Institute. And they recently published a paper about the cause of nuclear verdicts. And in that report, they basically said the plaintiffs are far better organized. And they're well-oiled and they're well financed. The defense of trucking is a cost-based operation. And so we're always trying to control those costs, which are preventing us from mounting an adequate defense. And so we wanna, we don't wanna, we don't want to raise the cost of that defense. We're here to lower that cost and make the defense more effective. Yeah. And you mentioned Joe fried he on that Cassandra the show there, right? For the, Hey, this is Tommy, by the way. Hey Tommy. And for the, for our listeners, Tommy is a, a poodle, No, he's a doofus, a doofus. He's a doofus. He, but he, he found out I was going to be on the safety dog program and he says, well, I want to be there. So he showed up. There You go. I was going to say, Joe fried is a prosecuting attorney who takes the trucking companies to court. And he in our eyes is the bad guy. And again, I'll, I'll shout out to Cassandra. Cause that was a great show, Joe. And you talking about nuclear verdicts and how to avoid them. And the thing about Joe fried is yeah, we call him the bad guy. Cause he's, he's, he's the plaintiff attorney, but Joe is one of the good ones. Joe's a really stand up honorable man. He's an honorable man who is generous with his information. And he is also, as he will tell you a staunch advocate for trucking safety and we're all advocates for trucking safety. He's just on the other side of the bar. And so when, when an attorney like Joe fried will, will come on, sit down at the table and show his hand to everybody. It's an opportunity to learn. So I have nothing, but the highest respect for jewel free and it's free. He spells it like fried, but it's pronounced fried. And I have to keep reminding myself, he's a really outstanding guy. So he's not like these ugly billboard lawyers or the, or the daytime television lawyers, but he does specialize in trucking cases. And he is a model of not the enemy, but definitely the opposition. Yeah. And as you said, he is gracious to share his information. As I say, this interview that I recently watched with you and him on it was awesome. And I keep saying about, I'll put down the link because I think everybody in trucking should watch that because you and Joe dropped some good stuff in there, but one of the things that you said, and I want to ask you about, because it was right at the end of that interview and you didn't get a chance to expand on it. Driver pay, how is it that driver pay is impacting crashes or accidents? You know, Chris, when we talk about this, I run the risk of going, I run the risk of going up against my own clients. And so I have to proceed very carefully with this, but most drivers in certainly in the us, if not all of North America are paid by the mile, as everybody knows, you've got hours of service rules that limit the number of miles that driver can work in a day. And in what other industry, certainly in the United States is the, is the employer allowed to pay the driver by the piece and then limit the amount of work they can do. The only, the only industry that I know of in North America that allows people to be paid by the piece or commission, salespeople and commission salespeople are not limited in their, in their ability. So I think it's a fundamental problem in the model. I don't necessarily have a solution to it, but I think there's a solution out there. So the driver has an incentive to drive as much as they can, because as we say in trucking, if the wheels aren't turning your not earning. And so the model itself promotes fatigue, It absolutely does. And as you said, and I think today with, I don't know if, you know, certainly you're aware that in the state you've got ELD is already Canada. We are a boat to go ELD in June of 2021. It looks like. So it's going to be closely tracked. I think in the old days, this model of paying by the mile came up because we wanted the driver to be productive while, while they were out there. And I think some of us probably got paid by the hour and abused our employers. And therefore they came up with this rate model that ensured we were productive now with the ELD systems and the greater chance of not cheating anymore. Cause I think ELD is have smartened up a lot of the system where we can't run two log books anymore. It certainly has limited us in our earning capacities. So yeah, I think you're right. And you know, one of the ways you can do it is just pay the guys differently. Well, and I think we can solve two problems at once. Chris is the other problem is the so-called drivers shortage, which I personally believe is a myth. I don't think we have a driver shortage in the us. I think we've got a retention problem. And when you think about paying the driver by the mile and all of the time, the, the, the actual driving time at 11 hours is, is less than half the time that they're going to spend out there. And so the other 13 hours of the day, they're either in their sleeper or they're in the truck, stop eating bad food. And how do we expect people to earn a decent living, being away from life and, and, and doing that. So, you know, I think there's a solution out there. I just believe that we're so deeply entrenched in our current models, that, that we're powerless to change out of them. And there are one or two, at least I know of a couple, and it's not even a handful. It's a couple of carriers that pay their long haul truck drivers by the hour. There are some, but they're rare. Well, and how about a salary? You know, when I was, you know, and, and, and the, the general freight category of transportation was all new to me because when I, when I left the mobile TV group, all of my experience has been in specialty of specialty and private transport. And so maybe I've got a different perspective coming in from the outside, but you can, you know, if you take what you're going to pay that driver by the mile, and you convert that into an annual salary and throw in a bonus or two, I think that somehow you're, you're, you're going to come out ahead. And I do know a couple of companies in the U S that are paying their drivers by salary. So there are some private motor fleets up here that pay their drivers very well. And why is it that they can afford it? And I say, private, so they're moving, I'm thinking of a beer manufacturer, beer manufacturer, I guess they make beer and they move their own freight. And they, it is one of the premium jobs that a truck driver can get because they treat you so damn well. Well, why can't we copy that model outside of the private carrier and pay the drivers, what they deserve and well, Yeah, and I think there's, you know, the, the for hire carrier has pressures. They've got market pressures, they've got market pressures from other carriers who are willing to do it cheaper. And so I hear a lot about freight rates. I hear a lot about load boards and how, you know, at the beginning of COVID, there was so much capacity that nobody could make any money working, so they just stay parked. So there's, those pressures are very real, but as a, as an industry, and it's only as an industry that we can change them. Yeah. It's an you and I talking about it. We unfortunately can't change it. And I'm not sure how it's ever going to change, because it is so entrenched. And it's kind of like a radical idea to pay the driver or something else other than by the mile or by the load or by the ton. It's always seems to be by something as opposed to a real wage. Well, everything is, everything is a derivative. Every number is a derivatives of some other number. And so they're charging by the mile, but, and so they want to be paid by the mile so that the margin is clear. And I don't know the answer. I don't know the answer. I, the, I think the answer is clear in private trucking, because you can build that margin directly, but in, in for hire trucking, I think it's, it's very difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. Yeah. Yeah. And as you said, it's the pressures that those for the, for hire trucking companies are under the shipper, keeps wanting to ship it at a cheaper rate. They never check or seldom check safety scores and your past performance. As long as you got the cheapest rate, we'll give you the freight and go move it Well. And Chris, this is something else that, that, that in that conversation with Joe Freid uncovered is that there's a direct correlation. I believe there is a direct correlation between the retention problem and the insurance crisis, because when you're turning over your workforce at 95% on a good day, how much is it costing you to retrain them constantly and prepare them? We know that drivers in their first two years of experience are going to have most accidents it's statistically proven. Yep. And so it only seems to make sense to keep those drivers for more than two years. And so the savings is there when we're complaining about nuclear verdicts and the increase in nuclear verdicts and the non-renewal of insurance, or the 50% increasing premiums annually, their savings there to, to, to finance these other programs. Yeah. There are ways to go about it. That's for sure. Last question or last topic as we switch, you also mentioned something about driver trainers and trainers, their seat, or their relationship to the trainee, as part of the, We're talking about their physical relationship to the trainee. And here's, here's the thing. And now in that conversation with, on the mad gangs show, we, we talked about the Warner verdict and that came out about four years ago, where the, the Werner truck driving through West Texas in the snow, a rookie driver in the seat, traveling under the speed limit in foul weather. And this is what outraged everybody down here. Chris is a passenger vehicle traveling in the opposite direction on a limited access freeway, loses control, spins across the median and hit the, the Werner truck in the mid ships, right in the tank, I think, and it killed a child seriously injured. Another child is seriously injured. The mother now the driver was doing everything right, brought his truck to a controlled stop. And, but two things, and that, that they still sued. So there's one myth that says that if you're not at fault, you won't be sued. You can't be sued and that's a myth. But the other myth is they, they, they sued the company and they want a $90 million jump judgment. And they won that $90 million judgment on two counts. One of them was their policy that said the driver had the option to shut down in the, in the bad weather. And the other was that they had a trainer on board, but the trainer was in the bunk. And when the trainer is in the bottom, they're not training. They're not a trainer at all. They're a coat driver. We have, one of our clients is risk retention group for a group of motor carriers. And that when I attend their safety meetings, that's one of the main things they, they bring on when you have a trainer, that trainer has to be training, not sleeping, because if they're in the bunk, they're a co-driver. And so they lost that verdict, partly because the driver wasn't or the trainer wasn't in the front seat, but it was also a critical load, a time-sensitive load. So they were trying to get this load all the way to California. So the trainer was sleeping in the monk And he said, this isn't, this is in Texas. This is in Texas. And it was tried in Harris County, Texas, which is a very difficult legal environment. Well, Texas is a difficult legal environment. This is a very difficult legal environment. Yes. Rivals cook County up in Illinois. Yes, it does it, does they call it a, a hell hole? Yeah. Now the other thing you just mentioned that you hadn't talked about before was the policy and how important policies are to trucking companies using the policy was that the driver could stop. Is that how you worded it? It was something, it was something to that effect. I don't have the language right in the front of my head, but the lesson to be learned. And I recently watched your, your conversation about policy and what should and should not be in a policy. But the thing to remember is when you get into litigation and not, if you should be prepared for, when you get into litigation, your policies are going to come out. And if you find that, if they, if the plaintiff's attorney finds out that you were not following your own policies at the time of the accident, they will hang you up. And so whatever policy language you choose to put in your employee handbook, you better follow it. And you better be following it all the times. So choose language that you can manage and choose language that is specific enough to keep you safe, but ambiguous enough to not be used against you. All right. Can you say that whole thing again, because I want to make sure that the listeners heard what you said about policies and how they can either work for you or against you. No, they can do both. So the policy language that you put in there, if your policy says, when the weather gets bad, you shut down And your driver and you instruct your driver to drive through bad weather. And that driver has an accident. The plaintiff has the, all of the information is discoverable in court and they will come back and they'll read your policy to you and say, your policy says this, right. And what were you doing at the time? You know, w w why didn't you follow your own policy? So once the jury found out that Werner didn't follow their own policy, you're done. It's, it's, it's a, it's a, it's a pointless verdict. There's an attorney out of Pennsylvania named Doug Marcello, who recently, you know, Doug, he put together a video on this, and he actually did a mock trial. And he hired actors to do it where he very clearly explains in the, he shows, he demonstrates in a mock trial setting, what this would look like. And it was just squirm or Chris, it was just squirm worthy because the poor, the poor safety manager and the safety manager I've been there. You've been there. We're just trying to get the job done. And so they're like, I don't know why. And it's over at his fodder for big verdicts right there. Yeah. It's amazing. Brendan. I want to say, thank you so much for coming on the show. It is enlightening. Kind of have to ask you to come back one day soon, because there's a lot more that we can talk about. One, I think accident plan is an awesome product. And again, the link is going to be in the show notes below, but more importantly, your experience and your knowledge about the courts and how different things can be used is awesome. And I got to believe you have a lot of stories that we didn't get into because of accident plan that you could share. Of course, leave the names out. Sure. I would like that. And thank you, Chris. I really appreciate the opportunity to come on with you and have these conversations. These, these conversations need to be had, and they need to be had over and over and over again. So I really appreciate the work you're doing, getting the words out there and helping these motor carriers to survive. Okay. I appreciate it. And your contact info is also in the show notes below in case somebody wants to reach out to you. So I thank you so much. Thank you, sir. Have a great day, everybody. And with that, I'm going to hit finish. 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. Thank you so much. And I do really appreciate your time and join us again next week for another exciting <inaudible>.