Crane Safety: Tackling Over-the-Road Risks

By Joseph Doerr01 June 2020

Doerr-Joseph

Joseph Doerr

As crane underwriting manager with ProSight Specialty Insurance, I have first-hand experience of the risks impacting the industry from my early years as a crane operator. Over-the-road exposure is an area that requires careful attention in understanding why insurance premiums are going up—and, more importantly, what you can do:

1. ACCEPT THAT MOBILE CRANES ARE COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES (CMVs)

Recognizing this fact is the first step to understanding the risks of over-the-road transport. Cranes are subject to the same regulations as commercial vehicles since they can drive on public roads, over extended distances, and at highway speeds.

Even though the functions a mobile crane performs are different than that of a truck, its integration with a truck chassis and driving system classifies it as a CMV. Therefore, operators must understand their dual role as crane operator and commercial driver—or risk opening their company up to needless liability. Because ProSight understands this risk, we offer comprehensive coverage that includes over-the-road exposure as part of General Liability.

2. AVOID RISKS ON THE ROAD

According to the NHTSA, it is estimated that ninety-four percent of commercial driving accidents result from bad driver behavior, like speeding, quick lane changes, and distracted driving. Compound these bad habits with a 10,000+ pound vehicle, and the results can be disastrous.

Rear-end collisions are a main cause of over-the-road loss. Consider that mobile cranes take almost double the time to stop than a fully-loaded tractor trailer, and you’ve got an accident waiting to happen if drivers aren’t alert. Another top cause is pinching, or when a mobile crane makes a wide right turn and another vehicle tries to squeeze through. Accidents like these can result in vehicular loss and bystander injury on a large scale, so it’s important to use innovative technology, like ProSight’s SecureFleet®, to continually reinforce good driving behaviors.

3. UNDERSTAND LITIGATION TACTICS

In the event of an accident that goes to trial, the plaintiff’s attorney may rely on an approach called the Reptilian Strategy to obtain recovery for bodily injury. This strategy plays on jurors’ emotions by encouraging them to picture themselves in the plaintiff’s shoes. By tapping into this gut instinct, plaintiff’s counsel aims to show how the defendant violated safety protocols and put the plaintiff—and, in essence, the larger community—in danger. The hope is that the jury finds in favor of the plaintiff with a large monetary award called a nuclear verdict. With nuclear verdicts driving up insurance costs, it’s important that your crane company is supported by a best-in-class claims team in the event of litigation.

Addressing risks associated with over-the-road transport is an essential part of a crane company’s success. ProSight’s combination of industry knowledge, customized coverage, and claims expertise helps maximize profitability in a modern world.

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