The ATA Foundation supplemented the industry contacts identified above with input from the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC), an organization representing the interests of small firms (i.e., those generally operating fewer than 100 vehicles).
The NASTC membership strongly believes that smaller trucking companies offer operational benefits to drivers that encourage driver retention and result in safer operations even if the actual level of pay is somewhat lower than what drivers could earn at a larger firm. According to NASTC, there are a number of reasons why small companies have lower driver turnover rates, relative to larger companies.
• Drivers have a more personal relationship with owners, managers, and dispatchers.
• Drivers appreciate the sense of ownership or “say” in the company and feel that their opinions count in operational decisions such as dispatches, equipment purchases, and general business decisions.
• The terminals, customers, and types of runs characteristic of smaller companies allow them to
give their drivers plenty of miles while still getting them home on weekends.
• Smaller companies demonstrate driver appreciation through safe driving awards. Awards banquets and events involving the drivers’ families, cash or merchandise awards, and bonuses tied to safe performance are among the incentives used most often. The latter are often team-based, which creates a greater support network among the drivers.
It may be concluded from the results of this research that a significant relationship exists between job change rate and crash involvement. There is evidence that drivers, whose (verified) employment history indicates that they have averaged more than two jobs with different carriers each year for a period of two years or more deserve special scrutiny during the hiring process to determine whether there are mitigating circumstances that have placed the individual in an increased-risk category.
Another conclusion that can be drawn from this study is that additional phases of analysis, based on the present methodology, have the potential to yield even greater benefits by identifying specific factors that can explain the broad statistical relationship between job change rate and safety. It is logical to assert that certain types of job changes, for certain categories of driver and vehicle variables, will better predict the likelihood of crash involvement than others.
Because of the more specific information about risk factors that could be provided, the most useful guidance for industry in selection, hiring, and training would be expected to result from follow-on analyses including, though not necessarily limited to, temporal sequencing of critical events, cargo type, and vehicle type and/or gross vehicle weight rating.
Staplin, L., Gish, K., Decina, L., and Brewster, R.,
Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Retention and
FMCSA, FMCSA-RT-03-004, Washington, DC, March 2003.