July 21, 2021


Nuclear verdicts can detonate your precious business reputation — no pun intended.

These verdicts have been coined as ‘nuclear’ by the trucking and transportation industry, and they’re monetary jury verdicts that surpass exorbitant sums of money. If one of the vehicles in your fleet is deemed at fault for a collision and a jury issues a nuclear verdict, the precious business you’ve built will likely crumble if you’re unable to keep up with the millions of dollars in lost sums.

Today, there are more verdicts and tougher juries, and fleets like yours need to be more prepared than ever to ensure drivers are operating as safely as possible — for their safety first and foremost, along with the safe standing of your business name.

The lowdown on nuclear verdicts today

In 2020, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) surveyed over 3,100 truckers, motor carriers, and industry stakeholders to identify the industry’s top issues. Insurance was the fifth top industry concern, with costs continuing to rise.

In recent years, ATRI concluded that nuclear verdicts are skyrocketing at unprecedented rates. The average size of nuclear verdicts has increased by nearly 1,000% from 2010 to 2018. So, a ruling that was once $2 million can now translate to $20 million. Between 2012 to 2019, the number of cases with nuclear verdicts of over $1 million increased by 235%.

Even the best insurance packages are unlikely to cover most of the financial requirements associated with hazardous collisions. Even if you’re able to overcome a nuclear verdict, the future safety of your drivers and your business name is likely in peril if you don’t have the right technology in place to protect your fleet.

A significant factor in nuclear verdicts is how at fault a driver is found. Commercial vehicle drivers are historically blamed for collisions — even if they’re innocent. Keeping the right technology in place can help you exonerate these innocent drivers and avoid detrimental verdicts.

Why video technology is so critical

You can maintain a culture of communication with drivers and implement regular safety training, but there is nothing like tangible, real-time video evidence.

Most commercial drivers take their roles and commitment to safety seriously. Yet, they are human and may not be aware of some of the seemingly harmless but dangerous behaviors they exhibit on the road. Something as innocent as adjusting the radio at the wrong time could lead to disaster.

The key in selecting the right video technology is first ensuring the safety, security, and video solutions you’re utilizing are offering your teams real-time data into how safely drivers are operating. This insight is so critical because it’s proactive. It’s not information you gain after a collision occurs, which would fall under the ‘too little, too late’ category in this context. With innovative technology, your back-office teams can be alerted to dangerous changes in driving behaviors and other critical safety indicators to guide drivers quickly and safely.

Additionally, in the unfortunate event a collision occurs, you can view video footage to see who’s really at fault for a crash, thereby clearing innocent drivers from pre-conceived blame and unfair charges in the courtroom.

Discover how Omnitracs and SmartDrive are converging to provide fleets with the most innovative, transformative approach to safety technology today.