The Motor Carrier Insurers Perspective.

Skyrocketing financial liability associated with commercial motor vehicle crashes has driven up insurance premiums for carriers, regardless of

their safety record. As such, almost all companies insuring motor carriers take a proactive role in supporting trucking safety programs.

Insurance industry contacts were asked to provide input into this discussion of driver retention and its role in safety. The responses revealed

a shared emphasis on the following key points:

• Employment screening and internal safety auditing should be based on all crashes, not just DOT-reportable incidents.

• The most financially stable trucking companies are the safest companies.

In addition, there was strong agreement, though not unanimity, on the following:

Safety flows downward: Insurers believe that the primary and paramount criterion of a safe trucking company is a strong

commitment to safety at the senior management level. This high-level attention to safety should result in the creation of a safety

program that has direct reporting functions to a high-level officer, such as the President or Vice President. In addition, successful safety

programs extend beyond “training” to education which moves drivers beyond the basics, and provides them with the intellectual tools

needed to react to unexpected and uncontrollable occurrences. Finally, safety programs should focus on individuals, to ensure that both

training and safe driving recognition “are not lost in the crowd.”

Safe driver factors: The industry believes that safe drivers can be molded and produced by a good safety program that starts with the

hiring and screening of applicants where high standards must be developed and enforced.

Role of government:

Insurers believe that safe drivers are a public commodity and

responsibility, and that government programs should focus more on safety training, education,

and enforcement, and less on regulatory compliance. Insurers argued that this focus would

result in improved safety training for all CMV drivers regardless of their place or length of

employment. It would also address safety training for high turnover drivers. Finally, with

regard to the role of government, insurers believe that both Federal and State DOT

intervention in the form of training and safety program development assistance is the best

method for correcting poor carrier safety records.