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Safety management a key to trucking industry profitability

Seldom does my trucking litigation practice as an attorney in Atlanta overlap with my semi-regular reading of Investors Business Daily. However, the issue for Monday, 12/22/08, includes an insightful article by J. Bonasia titled “Trucking Firms Shift Gears.”

Some key points:

* “A central part of the industry’s cost structure involves a focus on safety, which is the main differentiator among trucking firms.”

* “All trucking firms pay roughly the same amount for fuel, trucks, drivers and equipment, . . . .So the real difference is the quality of people who deliver the service and their safety record. That can prevent a company from being bitten by losses due to accidents.”

* Advantages of GPS tracking system for efficient fleet management and auxillary power units for energy conservation.

* Consolidation of the trucking industry in the current economic contraction as smaller and less well managed companies fail.

So it’s not just plaintiffs’ lawyers (that nasty breed constantly berated by IBD) and wingnut safety crusaders who recognize that safety is crucial to profitability. Business analysts too recognize that safety management is critical to profitability in the trucking industry.

Ken Shigley is a trial attorney in Atlanta, Georgia who has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” (Atlanta Magazine), among the “Legal Elite” (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale). He served as chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Litigation Institute, is on the National Advisory Board for the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America, and is a frequent national seminar speaker for the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice. He has recently spoken on trucking litigation topics at continuing legal education programs both at home in Georgia and in Nashville, New Orleans, St. Louis and Chicago, and is scheduled to do so in San Diego in 2009. A Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, he was a faculty member for ten years at the Emory University Law School Trial Techniques Program. Currently he is Secretary of the 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia.