Mar 10, 2024 | Articles



Doug Marcello

WHY IT MATTERS:  We have the power and ability to bring real tort reform by radically changing our approach and flexing our electoral power.

WHY WE ARE FAILING:  Our current course for tort reform is failing.  Aside from isolated success in the very few politically fertile states, our current strategy and procedures are not getting traction.

Continuing to play the same game, the same way is a prescription for failure.  Sure, PACs are necessary.  A necessary….  “Money is the mother’s milk of politics”.

But we will never win that game.  We are, and will be, outspent by those who reinvest in legislation and judicial elections from the 33%-40% they take from widowed and the injured.

We need to pivot to our strength and change the narrative.  Change it from a money game we cannot win to an electoral contest.

THE REAL ROAD TO TORT REFORM:  We have a power that none of the billboard lawyers possess—votes.  We need to flex our electoral power to repel this existential threat.

Trucking related businesses employ 8.4 million people.  This does not even include those who are self-employed. Or their spouses and partners.  Or their children and parents.  Or their friends.

In a time of a divided electorate in which a majority is determined by mere percentage points, trucking votes have power.

Trucking votes can be determinative. Electoral power personified by the mantra, “Truckers Vote”.

“SURE.  BUT HOW?”: Never has it been easier than today’s world of social media.  We can communicate directly to our people unfiltered by media intermediaries.

“Realistic?”  Consider that the death of a Tunisian shopkeeper sent shockwaves via social media that brought down entrenched governments with military force in an “Arab Spring”.  Our challenge pales in comparison.

Our road to real tort reform has four elements:

  1. Educate
  2. Motivate
  3. Flex
  4. Enlist

-EDUCATE:  Our employees and the public.  Of the existential threat of the billboard lawyers.  Jobs.  Consumer costs. Community support.

Of how the billboarders operate—did I say 33%-40% from the widowed and injured?  And then take their expenses from what’s left.  Litigation loans and funding.  Financing campaigns of the judges before whom they appear.

Educate them of our true story.  The lifeblood of America.  Drivers missing birthdays and anniversaries to deliver what we need and what we enjoy.  Million mile safe drivers and billions for safety.  Supporting the communities in which we live.

-MOTIVATE:  Motivation our people to vote for those who will protect and support our industry.  Motivation to vote to turn out those who don’t.

There are two sides—those who are for us and those who are not.  As a Texas politician once said, “the only thing in the middle of the road is yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”

-FLEX:  We need to show our electoral power by turning out and making our voice heard.  Forcefully.

The message needs sent—Truckers Vote.  And we vote for those on their side of the road.

The message that politicians can either be with those with the money or those with the votes.  Politician, its your choice.  And then it is ours.

-ENLIST:  The electoral mass of transportation is mighty but will be amplified by enlisting those in a similar position.  Medical industry.  Insurance.

Anyone in the crosshairs of billboard lawyers are our allies.  Our threat is their threat.  Our cause is their cause.  Our voices are amplified by unity.

“SOUNDS GOOD IN THEORY, BUT…”-Who is going to do it?  Where are you going to get the money?

-WHO?-We already have the infrastructure—National and state trucking organizations.  Starting at the top—ATA, TCA, NPTC,… Individually or, even better, united these organizations are at the vanguard of members and resources.

Then continue with the state organizations.  The grassroot entities closest to the members.

We have the “Who”.  It is just a matter of focused efforts as a unified front.  Educating, mobilizing, and enlisting their members for real action.  Action that can mean the difference between having or losing their business or their job.

A task force of trucking organizations—“Truckers United”—for the preservation of our industry.

“RESOURCES?”-“So who’s going to pay for this?”  “Where is the money coming from?”

First, we are talking about using existing resources focused on the existential threat.  Existing publications, emails, webinars, conferences,… Existing resources to educate as to the threat and motivate the response.

Over the last eighteen months I have given a presentation entitled “The Four Phases of Litigation” to numerous national and state trucking organizations and insurance meetings.  Many attendees were enlightened, if not shocked, by the threat and the strategy of the billboard attorneys. We need to extend the message as to why this is crucial as well as to the merits of our industry.

Second, we are not talking about massive expenditures.  We are not going to out-TV or out-billboard the enemy.  To do so is virtually wasting money.

We are talking about social media.  Generally free as a medium.

Maximized by messaging from the organizations and the allies.  Magnified by providing assets for posting by companies and employees.

Not the same old postings, but creative, captivating graphics and messages.  Why can’t our crucial messages be more impactful than an eighteen year olds stating his college football commitment.

Third, if increased funds are needed, let’s get it.  Like a WWII bond drive, we have noble cause and great need with funds dedicated to a specific use.

BOTTOM LINE:  Real tort reform requires a fundamental change in our attack.  To flex our electoral muscles driven by “Truckers Vote”.  To drive the effort by “Truckers United”  To do otherwise is to accept our fate with minimal progress.

About the Author


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