A lawsuit making its way through the Louisiana court system could have serious ramifications for the trucking industry. Whitestone Transportation is being sued by a group of individuals who claim they were hit by a Whitestone Transportation driver. The only problem? There’s absolutely no evidence the event in question actually occurred.
In a series of court filings, attorneys for Whitestone Transportation say they’ve uncovered over 30 separate accidents that feature similar hallmarks of their initial case, suggesting that “staged accidents” involving semitrailers are on the rise. Legal experts say these incidents follow a predictable pattern: One or more people wave down a truck driver, claim they’ve been side-swiped, and then before sharing any of their own insurance information, leave the scene.
While there’s no way to prevent criminal activity entirely, there are steps you can take to protect your equipment and drivers.
Install on-board surveillance cameras. CCTV systems are smaller and more affordable than ever. Decking out your trucks and trailers with security equipment is an easy way to monitor your property at all times. If anything strange does happen, you’ll have video evidence to back you up in court.
Train and educate drivers. An educated fleet is a safe fleet. The more your drivers know about potential risks—whether legal or physical—the better. “Staged accidents” aren’t something you hear about every day. Alert your drivers to the fact that this kind of thing can happen. Encourage them to be alert at all times, and make sure everyone performs regular safety inspections.
Although it’s unfortunate that these types of things happen, being informed is half the battle. Stay safe, and keep your drivers informed!