Truck transportation in the U.S. is a major portion of our economy. According to the Council for Supply Chain Professionals, the U.S. spends $635 billion each year on truck transportation. $635 billion is more than the GDP of all but 16 countries in the world.
The cost related to the high number of accidents and crashes that involve a large truck adds up. In 2007 (the last year for which federal statistics are available), 139,587 semis were involved in non-fatal accidents and 4,584 were involved in fatal crashes. (FMCSA) When an accident occurs there are direct costs related to the crash, lost business time as well as worker’s compensation claims, which leads to higher insurance rates.
Research shows that “there is a direct relationship between crash frequency, supply chain bottlenecks and workers compensation experience.” (Peter Van Dyne, loss control technical director of Liberty Mutual Insurance.) This may lead some companies to increase their driver training programs to try to mitigate driving errors. But research shows that many of the drivers in involved in traffic incidences were aware of the correct driving procedure. For example, driver habits or “taking short cuts” play a more significant role in accidents than lack of driver knowledge or skill.
In order to reduce the risk of trucking accidents, a stronger strategy is for companies to improve their truck driving practices to make better driver selections.
So what qualities and characteristics should a truck driving company consider when approaching hiring decisions? Here are some recommended criteria for selection.
Look for drivers who:
- have four or fewer driving violations or accidents
- have no more than two moving violations (speeding infractions) in the last 2 years
- can pass your background checks (citizenship, past employment, work history gaps, criminal history, etc.)
- have six or fewer job changes over a 10 year period
- can pass a driving test that is at least 2 hours long.