Drivers get tickets and violations. There is no denying that. It comes with the thousands of miles they drive. The question is, what do you do with violations when they occur and what is the best way to handle them to ensure you maintain a culture of safety?
Reasons Carriers Do NOT Use Legal Services
Fleet managers experience an understandable tension when faced with drivers’ tickets. A common concern in using a legal service is that it will encourage unsafe driving. Giving drivers a way to fight CDL tickets, in the mind of a Safety Manager, masks the problem. While this concern is valid, let’s look deeper at some of the assumptions made with this perspective.
Assumption #1 – The DOT’s escalating points system is the best entity to determine unsafe/problem drivers and how to punish a driver
“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” – Plato
Solution: A personalized approach to safety and drivers includes a combination of relationship (to connect with their desire and emotion) and information (knowledge). This helps them understand the “why”, leading to a behavior change and ultimately a safer driver. Just using the points that come with a ticket or violation makes the discussion adversarial. Because drivers are in such high demand, the approach of “coming alongside” is the best long term solution to improving your safety program.
Assumption #2 – Fighting tickets promotes bad behavior
Solution: Fighting tickets doesn’t mean accepting the behavior. The assumption that fighting CDL tickets will create more unsafe driving is similar to thinking that buying car insurance causes more accidents. No driver wants to get a ticket, but they do happen. Fighting tickets allows the Safety Team to address the issue directly with the driver and not relying on the impersonal nature of a ticket and points system to convey the company’s safety culture.
Assumption #3 – Safety Managers have visibility to all tickets
Solution: Many drivers are already paying directly for legal services. Most are buying overpriced pre-paid legal plans at the truck stops or hiring attorneys on their own to fight tickets. The problem with this is fleet managers do not have visibility until they run their annual MVRs. By purchasing a membership through CDL Legal, the Safety Manager has visibility to all tickets for their drivers.
How CDL Legal Can Help Improve Your Safety Program
If you are a current fleet manager then you know that drivers are in short supply. Creating additional benefits for your drivers is critical to your retention efforts. Fleet managers that show they understand the daily challenges drivers face will connect better with their driver base. Safety has to be the priority and part of the culture. However, you can get more accomplished by coming alongside your drivers so when tickets happen, they can be used to teach rather than just punish.
The Benefits of Fighting Tickets:
- Visibility – Carriers that use a legal service to fight tickets have better visibility to when tickets occur. Visibility enhances your safety initiatives.
- CSA Score Improvement – Inspections that coincide with a reduced or dismissed ticket can be updated on the CSA score. For example, a 15 mph over speeding ticket, results in 10 pts on CSA. However, after being reduced to a non-moving violation, it can be updated to a 1pt violation on CSA. If that happens 10 times a year, a company can save a lot of points.
- Reduced Insurance Costs – The cost of insurance is going up. Safety and Operations Managers need every advantage they can get to control rising costs. Improving both your CSA score and keeping points off your drivers’ MVRs will result in lower insurance rates.
- Driver Retention – This may be the biggest benefit of them all. Going back to the issue of drivers in short supply, Fleet Managers should do everything possible to retain good drivers. All too often, fleets see good drivers get a few CDL tickets within a year and needlessly become ineligible to drive. Fleets that provide a way for drivers to proactively protect themselves also create one more point of “stickiness” that is critically important in today’s tough market.
Drivers matter. Tickets happen. Keeping good drivers is essential. Running a profitable and safe business is a daily challenge.
CDL Legal will stand behind your drivers with a proactive solution to fight CDL tickets that provide increased retention, better visibility of tickets, improved CSA scores, and reduced insurance costs.
Click HERE to learn more about CDL Legal Benefits for drivers.