Negligent retention practices and how they can cost your fleet

Negligent retention practices and how they can cost your fleet

Negligent retention of truck drivers is a serious issue that poses significant risks to both trucking companies and the public. Negligent retention occurs when a company retains an employee despite knowing or having reason to know that the employee is unfit or incompetent for the job, and this failure to act results in harm to others.

A common scenario leading to negligent retention involves a truck driver who has a history of safety violations, accidents, or other concerning behaviors. Despite knowledge of these issues, the company may fail to take appropriate action, such as additional training, supervision, or disciplinary measures, to address the driver’s deficiencies. By retaining such drivers, the company knowingly exposes the public to the risks caused by the driver’s negligence or incompetence.

The consequences of negligent retention can be severe, both in terms of human suffering and financial liability. Truck accidents resulting from negligent retention can lead to devastating injuries, lifelong disabilities, and loss of life for innocent victims. Moreover, trucking companies found liable for negligent retention may face significant legal costs, damages, and reputational harm. In some cases, courts may impose punitive damages to deter similar misconduct in the future, further exacerbating the financial impact on the company.

To prevent negligent retention and mitigate associated risks, trucking companies must prioritize the screening, training, and monitoring of their drivers. This includes:

  • Conducting comprehensive background checks
  • Verifying driving records
  • Conducting regular performance evaluations to identify and address any red flags promptly
  • You should consider aligning your hiring requirements with your retention policies.
    • I.e.: If you would not hire a driver with more than three violations in two years, you would not retain an existing driver under the same circumstances. This shows continuity of expectations for all drivers.
  • Additionally, companies should have clear policies and procedures in place for addressing concerns about driver competence or behavior, including mechanisms for reporting and investigating complaints or incidents.

By taking proactive steps to ensure the competency and suitability of their drivers, trucking companies can reduce the likelihood of accidents and liability associated with negligent retention.

Bob Carl
Bob Carl
Senior Fleet Services & Risk Engineer | HDVI
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