Assumptions vs Analysis: Are Cited Drivers Always at Fault?

With more than three million professional truck drivers on the road in the U.S., traffic citations are a normal part of doing business in the trucking industry. Violations do happen, but if a motor carrier manager assumes that every driver who is cited is guilty simply by virtue of having been cited, opportunities to correct inaccuracies on drivers’ records will be missed. With the 2014 FMCSA rule change that provided for positive courtroom outcomes to be made part of drivers’ and carriers’ records, having a process in place to analyze the validity of citations and guilt after adjudication can ensure more accurate records and, consequently, keep CSA scores low.

The role of technology.

Analyzing a citation incident should take into account all available evidence, which an attorney may be able to present to the court to show that a driver was not at fault or that there were mitigating circumstances that illustrate how a driver may not have had other options for avoiding the infraction.

There are a number of technologies in use by freight companies that can create detailed, accurate records of events and be used as evidence in legal proceedings. These include elogs with GPS capabilities that can provide coordinate points of reference of a truck’s location and be relevant to a logbook violation; cameras that provide data on the environment and location of trucks involved in accidents; and event data recorders that can be used to confirm a driver’s account of events. These technologies are not only an important part of citation defense; they also help safety managers improve driver training and overall safety performance.

How legal benefits plans can help.

When an analysis points to the likelihood that a positive legal outcome can be achieved, having expert legal representation at hand for drivers is critical. Our CDL Defender™ plan is designed just for the trucking industry, and its coverage includes defense against citations and support for DataQs challenges that can help keep points off of drivers’ records and ensure that records are accurate.

If you’d like to learn more about our CDL Defender™ and how legal representation can help improve your bottom line, get in touch with us today.