Could This New Software Suite Prevent Truck Accidents?
An article in Transport Topics, a freight industry publication, recently caught our attention. The article discussed a new product by tech company Idelic designed to help commercial truck fleets negotiate lower insurance rates. It does this by leveraging its current trucking safety software’s data and using it to produce reports that notify fleet supervisors about high-risk and dangerous drivers.
This gives owners and managers an opportunity to provide intervention strategies on a driver before – rather than after – they cause a catastrophic truck accident. It’s possible that a successful, nationwide implementation of this type of program could drastically cut down on serious and fatal commercial truck crashes. We looked into the software a little bit more so we could tell you how it works.
How the trucking software works
Per Transport Topics:
The Pittsburgh-based company on Jan. 17 announced the formation of Idelic Insurance Agency, LLC. The initiative combines data from Idelic’s Safety Suite driver performance management platform — which aggregates driver risk data and identifies high-risk drivers via proprietary machine learning — and its Driver Safety Playbook, a driver coaching and professional development effort developed in collaboration with insurers and fleets. The goal, per Idelic, is to modernize the traditional insurance market while improving driver habits.
Michael Gramm, Idelic’s senior vice president of insurance, adds, “We’re all about taking the data that comes off of today’s trucks and use that data to predict what drivers are at risk to having an accident in the next 90 days.”
The Idelic program is a suite of software for commercial fleets that help supervisors track their driver activities in real time, as well as use that data to predict future actions. Two of the main pieces of these software are the:
- Driver Watch List. This “helps fleets identify risky driver behavior at the most important time – before crashes and subsequent losses happen.”
- Driver Safety Playbook. The Playbook offers fleet supervisor and managers detailed instructions on how to provide coaching to truck drivers placed on the Driver Watch List.
Now, let’s not get this mixed up. In the big scheme of things, trucking companies are not purchasing this program, and Idelic isn’t selling it, in order to cut down on the more than 4,000 lives lost every year to commercial truck accidents. Idelic’s selling point is reducing insurance premiums for trucking fleets – not saving lives. By using the aggregated data to offer lower rates to fleets demonstrating real loss reduction, Idelic will offer discounted rates through its new insurance agency.
Fewer accidents are fewer accidents, right?
We think so. Even though Idelic’s ultimate goal is to sell software and insurance, the ripple effect of identifying and coaching at-risk and dangerous drivers can be a positive one. In 2020, the most current data available, South Carolina saw 1,858 truck accidents, 91 of them fatal.
The way the program, and others like it, works is that the intervention process starts before an accident occurs, instead of after tragedy occurs and lives are lost. The software analyzes a driver’s behaviors behind the wheel, and assigns them a level of risk. When this risk exceeds a certain number, the fleet manager can intervene, take the driver off the road, and provide necessary intervention. Idelic’s website claims “proven crash reduction” after fleets implement the Driver Watch List, noting an average 20.3% decrease in accidents.
Our verdict? If it’s helping trucking companies cut down on preventable accidents, we’re on board. If you’d like to see how the software works, check out this YouTube video.
How negligence leads to truck accidents in Virginia
Although we don’t know quite exactly how this type of software works, some of the risky behaviors it’s likely looking for include:
- Driving while distracted. Distracted driving is a danger to everyone, and one of the more common causes of motor vehicle accidents. Driving distracted is such a big problem in the trucking industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) devotes an entire website to the subject.
- Driving under the influence. Driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs is both against the law and deadly.
- Speeding or reckless driving. When truckers drive too fast for road conditions, they can easily lose control of their vehicle, causing devastating accidents.
- Improper maintenance. Failing to properly maintain a rig, or skipping scheduled maintenance checks, can result in breakdowns, blowouts, and accidents.
If you’re involved in an accident with a commercial truck, we investigate to find the cause of your accident to see if any of the above were a factor, as well as any FMCSA violations.
How our Richmond-based lawyers can help with your case
Truck accidents aren’t like collisions with passenger cars. The vehicles are heavier, bigger, and cause catastrophic and life-changing injuries – the kinds of injuries that never heal and cause pain and suffering for the rest of your life. That’s why you need a law firm experienced in commercial truck accident cases. Our attorneys understand that the day of your accident was only the beginning of your losses, and you’re entitled to compensation that lasts as long as your injuries.
In general, truck accident victims are entitled financial compensation for:
- Medical expenses, current and future
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Lost wages and future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If a commercial truck crash took the life of a loved one, we can also file a wrongful death claim on your family’s behalf to recoup funeral and burial expenses.
The experienced lawyers at Phelan Petty are here to help if you were injured in a truck accident. We understand how to protect your right to compensation and are here to handle the legal process while you take the time you need to recover from your accident. Let our attorneys do the hard work for you. Our law firm is based in Richmond, but we serve injured clients throughout the state of Virginia. To schedule a free initial case evaluation, call us or complete our contact form today.
Michael Phelan is a Virginia trial attorney who practices with a special focus on traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases, pharmaceutical and medical device claims, product liability cases, and truck accidents. Michael’s peers have consistently recognized him for his excellence as a trial lawyer, and his clients have praised him for his commitment to deep research, his outstanding communication skills, and his sincerity and dedication.