Every year, more commercial transportation carriers are dragged into collision litigation and must deal with the expensive fallout. Not only have the number of claims increased, but the damages awarded by juries in these lawsuits have skyrocketed.
According to a 2023 report by Marathon Strategies, nuclear verdicts in excess of $10 million are on the rise, with the average total sum verdict increasing from $10.3 million in 2020 to $65.4 million in 2022, a more than 500% increase.
Factors in the huge rise of nuclear lawsuits include an increase in negative media, corporate mistrust among younger jury members, and a lack of tort reforms in many states. Some states, such as Florida, have passed laws to limit frivolous lawsuits against trucking companies.
In the meantime, companies must not only take every safety precaution but provide evidence for trucker exoneration. This makes trucker exoneration strategies a critical element of any modern fleet safety program. Fleets must assume they will be targeted and prepare accordingly—with everything from internal policies to technology—to help combat false claims. In this article, you’ll learn how Lytx® can help with driver exoneration.
What is exoneration for fleet drivers?
Exoneration is the process through which a driver is absolved from the blame, liability, or responsibility for a collision after it has been proven that the incident wasn’t their fault. Exoneration can come into play at various stages, such as when a fleet safety manager shows dash cam footage to police officers for their accident report, or when fleet executives use the footage to get plaintiff attorneys to drop false claims.
What is a fleet accident review board and how does it affect exonerations?
A fleet accident review board (FARB) is a team or committee within a commercial trucking organization that is typically composed of fleet safety managers, compliance officers, and sometimes external experts. The team’s function is to review collisions involving fleet vehicles, ensuring a fair, unbiased analysis of events. The ultimate goal is to accurately assign fault and identify preventative safety measures (if applicable).
A FARB ensures that all parties involved in incidents are treated fairly and with transparency. Because they rely on data and thorough investigative processes, many organizations rely on this team to assist with fleet driver exoneration. A FARB also oversees legal and compliance matters related to fleet collisions, ensuring that the organization adheres to relevant laws and regulations while also managing any legal proceedings that may arise post-incident.
How Lytx technology can help with fleet collision exoneration
While some commercial fleets are attempting to mitigate liability by arming truckers with driver exoneration forms or exoneration cards, most organizations are progressively leaning into safety technology to navigate the “blame game” after a collision.
Lytx’s video safety and video telematics solutions benefit fleets by offering both proactive and reactive capabilities.
From a reactive standpoint, Lytx’s technology provides quick access to any dash cam footage managers might need and real-time* vehicle locations. It’s much easier for fleets to prove driver innocence and stop claims before they start when equipped with video and clear data surrounding the scene of an incident.
On the proactive side, our systems help predict and prevent collisions with advanced risk identification, data-driven coaching, and actionable safety insights derived from recorded footage and telematics data.
Driver exoneration case study: Coca-Cola
Lytx’s video safety technology is so effective that even large, high-exposure companies like Coca-Cola have been able to win an increasing number of driver exonerations and drop claims by a whopping 92 percent. Donahue Holloway, safety coordinator for the Durham Coca-Cola Bottling Co., says, “We had two companies go after us when they thought we hit them....In fact, the video clearly showed they hit us. Once we mentioned that we had Lytx, [the false claims] went away. When you have that kind of information it changes the game.
The bedrock of Lytx’s fleet safety technology is the DriveCam® device, our state-of-the-art fleet dash cam. This intelligent system captures and analyzes driving behavior, providing a bird’s eye view of not just the “what,” but the “how” and “why” of incidents on the road. The camera can assist in dissecting incidents, identifying risky driving behaviors, and offer tangible, unbiased evidence for smooth driver exonerations. The DriveCam device can be configured to include:
Advanced machine vision and artificial intelligence (MV+AI)† to capture and categorize risky driving behaviors.
Real-time, in-cab alerts† that warn drivers of risky behaviors, allowing them to self-correct in the moment.
Live streaming to see what's happening in and around vehicles in near real time*.
Reliable, continual recording of up to 400# hours of video that can be accessed within minutes.
Configurable views that can be in-cab and road-facing, with support for additional auxiliary cameras for side and rear views.
Bridgette Blitch, Esq., an attorney at Taylor & Associates, a Florida firm that represents fleets, truck drivers, and other logistics and transportation clients, emphasizes the importance of video safety: “Let me tell you, if a collision happens, it’s often the commercial driver who’s going to get cited, correctly or not. The driver can do everything right, and still a collision can occur. If you have technology on board to show that the driver was free from negligence and did everything they could to avoid the collision, it’s going to be very difficult for prosecutors or plaintiff’s attorneys to dispute the video.”
Lytx’s fleet safety technology also includes configurable coaching with flexible workflows that can help fleet safety managers engage with drivers to improve behaviors or analyze incidents. And managers can monitor driving performance and trends with driver safety insights reports.
Our fleet tracking solution is the final piece that can aid fleets with driver exoneration by providing real-time data on vehicle locations, speeds, and driving behavior. A fleet manager can access on-demand video through an easy search or via vehicle maps to find exactly the footage you need. Conversely, in the event that a driver is indeed at fault, video proof can help settle claims faster, reducing litigation costs associated with the claim.
Benefits for drivers
Drivers are a fleet’s most valuable asset. These are the people on the front lines, dealing with demanding customers, dicey road conditions, and unpredictable motorists. With Lytx technology, drivers have an unbiased witness sitting shotgun in their passenger seat.
Our video safety technology reveals exactly what happened leading up to an incident, saving drivers from “he said-she said” arguments and offering near-instant exoneration. The video footage also helps drivers to better present their point of view to coaches. Plus, with in-cab alerts and advanced MV+AI that only flags prioritized behaviors, drivers are empowered to self-correct and can focus on the road instead of being overtrigged or pulled into a coaching session for slight transgressions. Lytx has built the technology to be driver-centric, giving them more peace of mind and easy tools to do their jobs well.
Helping to prove driver innocence and protecting your fleet with Lytx
The best offense for commercial fleets is a good defense. The best driver safety programs incorporate top-notch driver training, consistent fleet maintenance, transparent compliance obligations, clear culture expectations, and most importantly, technology to help fleets run safely and efficiently.
If you’re looking for fleet accident management software or in-cab cameras for exoneration assistance, Lytx can help. Click here to learn how you can win more driver exonerations and reduce claims costs by up to 80%+ with our best-in-class, configurable fleet safety solutions.