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Truck drivers share their top safety concerns

For the most part, drivers of commercial trucks in North Carolina strive to do their jobs safely. Working long hours on the road involves many risks. When a fleet management systems provider asked truckers to describe their top safety problems, getting cut off in traffic by passenger vehicles was their top concern.

Many truckers complained that drivers of passenger vehicles frequently changed lanes in front of them when space was insufficient. Truck drivers need to keep a safe following distance because they need time to brake if something goes wrong. Truckers mentioned that turn signal use appears to be in decline as well. This compounds the problem of getting cut off by eliminating the advanced notice that a turn signal provides. Commercial drivers also worried about the increasing risk posed by more people speeding. Bad weather troubled truckers as well because it almost always heightens their risk of getting into wrecks.

What to know about using business brokers

Business owners in North Carolina and throughout the country can make a lot of money selling their companies. However, it is important to find the right buyer, and a business broker may be able to help facilitate a transaction that a company founder will be comfortable with. Business brokers will charge anywhere from 10 to 15% of the final purchase price. Of course, a broker will also make sure that only serious buyers inquire about purchasing the organization.

The person or entity acting as broker can also work with a buyer on a company owner's behalf during the process of completing the transaction. There are many things to know about a broker before choosing to work with one. Ideally, he or she will have relatively few listings at any given time. The fewer listings a broker has, the more time is available to focus on the details of a given transaction.

Truck accidents often present complex issues

Most North Carolina motorists go about their daily driving tasks with little concern or trepidation yet are, on some level, aware of the risks of accidents. Although road safety is regularly promoted through public awareness campaigns, the number of accidents nationally continues to climb and is, by most estimates, in excess of 6 million incidents every year. Thankfully, most accidents are relatively minor, involving no personal injury and clear liability, but truck accidents present a different set of challenges than a more typical scenario involving two passenger cars.

As with every issue of liability involving a potential lawsuit, the greater number of litigants involved, the more complex the case. When a commercial truck is involved in a crash, there can be multiple parties who may have some stake in what ultimately happens. For instance, the truck driver, the owner of the truck, the company that leased the truck and the owner of the freight that was being shipped by the truck may be, and generally are, separate entities that each have separate interests. Compare this with two automobile drivers who are involved in a fender-bender type accident and exchange information, call their insurance companies and go about their business.

Federal regulations may cause drivers to speed

In 2017, 4,761 people died in crashes involving large trucks on North Carolina roadways and others throughout the country. That was a 9% increase in large truck fatalities in a year when traffic fatalities overall dropped by 2%. The increase in crashes may be caused by drivers who are trying to get to their destination before they are forced to stop work. According to federal regulations, drivers are required to take a break after eight hours behind the wheel.

Federal rules also mandate that drivers can only drive for 11 hours over any period of 14 hours. However, a representative from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration doesn't necessarily think that the rule is a contributing factor to increased accidents and deaths. Another representative of the FMCSA said that speeding deaths have actually declined in recent years and that drivers who speed are routinely cited.

Why trucking businesses sometimes don't sell

Thanks to the thriving merger-and-acquisition environment, trucking owners in North Carolina may receive inquiries from prospective buyers even if they're not actually considering selling. For times when the owner of a trucking business does want to sell, it's important not to scare off interested parties.

Business transactions involving trucking companies sometimes fizzle out if prospective buyers don't see the potential for a company's growth. Some buyers also hesitate or present discounted offers if they see trucking operations with an owner who is too hands-on. A lack of engagement can also affect a buyer's willingness to present a lucrative offer. An example of this is when an owner waits for months to respond to an initial offer. Issues with a company's driver base -- e.g., a high turnover rate -- may discourage sellers as well.

Chris Soules settles wrongful death suit for $2.5 million

North Carolina reality TV fans may be interested to learn that former "The Bachelor" star Chris Soules has settled a wrongful death suit with the family of a man he struck and killed with his pickup truck in 2017. He has agreed to pay the victim's relatives $2.5 million.

On April 24, 2017, Soules was driving in Buchanan County, Iowa, when he rear-ended a John Deere tractor, killing its 66-year-old driver. He then reportedly fled the scene. According to authorities, he also had alcohol containers in his vehicle at the time of the collision. He was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury, which is an aggravated misdemeanor. He is still awaiting sentencing.

NDA an essential part of selling a business

Confidentiality is among the most important commodities when it comes to selling a North Carolina business. According to some analysts, businesses that are not known as for sale are worth more than those that are. Confidentiality is also important in another sense. Business owners and entrepreneurs who are selling businesses should never disclose confidential information without having a signed non-disclosure agreement in hand. Prospective buyers should not have access to client or financial information unless they've signed an NDA.

Client information and financial information can be used with impunity against the business operation if there is no NDA in place. It can be used to lure clients or plan attack strategies, or it can be sold to others. Disclosing such information without a signed NDA, even to trusted parties, is like giving someone the password to a bank account.

How to go about buying a business

Each year, roughly 500,000 companies in North Carolina and throughout the country obtain new owners. Buying an existing company may be better than starting a new one for a number of reasons. For example, the brand is already known and has a track record of success. While the cost of buying a company could be higher than starting one, it may take less time and effort to recoup that initial investment.

Prior to buying the business, it is important to have an appraisal done to determine its fair market value. It is also important to do due diligence into any rules or regulations that apply to the company. For instance, if the company is located in an area that isn't zoned for business, it could pose a problem. During the due diligence process, potential buyers should be sure to learn about any liens or other debts that the company has. In many cases, the new owner will be liable for taking care of these liabilities once the sale becomes final.

Truck crash deaths at their highest in 29 years, says NHTSA

From 2016 to 2017, the number of car crash deaths in North Carolina and across the US went down 2% with 2017 seeing a total of 37,133 deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made preliminary estimates that show how the decline is continuing through 2019. On the other hand, truck crash fatalities have gone up dramatically.

In 2016, there were 4,369 such fatalities. 2017 saw a 9% rise to 4,761 deaths, the highest the number has ever been in 29 years. Of those fatalities, the majority (72%) were occupants of passenger vehicles. The remaining 28%, which came to about 1,300 fatalities, were the truckers themselves.

Buying a business may be better than starting one

Those who are thinking about being a business owner in North Carolina may choose to start a company from scratch. In some cases, it may be best to buy a company that already has a track record of success. Buying a company that is already profitable means the new owner will be able to see a return on investment in less time. Furthermore, important infrastructure is already in place such as key employees and a known product or service.

It can take a lot of money to start a company from the beginning. However, the person selling the business may allow a buyer to make payments each month until the company is paid for in full. The monthly payments are usually a percentage of the company's profits during that time period.

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