Importance of Driver Training and Accountability in Trucking
Hiring and retaining quality truck drivers is challenging in today’s economy, but it is more important than ever.
Identifying driver issues now could reduce future accidents. A recent study from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) analyzed prior driver behavior as a predictor of future accidents and identified the top violations that show strong correlation with future crashes.
- Simply having a previous crash increased a truck driver’s probability of having a future crash by 113 percent.
- Five behaviors have consistently been strong indicators of future crash involvement: reckless driving violation, failure to use/improper signal conviction, prior crash, failure to yield right of way violation, and improper or erratic lane change conviction.
Here are some suggestions for driver hiring and qualification:
- Establish your company’s driver selection requirements to clarify what you look for in drivers. You can use the FMCSA Driver Qualification File (DQF) and CFR 49 Part 391.11-15 to identify basic standards.
- Utilize a comprehensive employment application form to ensure all relevant information is collected. You can use the FMCSA Driver Employment Application as a guide.
- Screen applicants for driving positions using the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. FMCSA has many resources available to employers and drivers. Refer to 49 CFR 40.25(j); 49 CFR 382.301.
- Order a PSP (Pre-Employment Screening Program) report for driver applicants. It can help you analyze a driver’s inspection and crash history to make an informed hiring decision.
- Road test all drivers to ensure they can safely and effectively operate the vehicle they will be principally driving. You can refer to CFR 49 Part 391.31 for road test regulations.
Keeping your company policies clear, transparent, and well documented shows your drivers that you are committed to safety and want to help prevent accidents. However, simply having policies in place is not enough. It is important to take proper disciplinary action, provide training and coaching, and adequately document all measures. Acting now will save you time and money in the long run—especially if it means staying out of the courtroom.