Safety-minded carriers focus on driver screening

May 1, 2005
A survey conducted by Unicru at the Truckload Carrier Association's annual convention found that the leading way carriers plan to address safety performance

A survey conducted by Unicru at the Truckload Carrier Association's annual convention found that the leading way carriers plan to address safety performance in 2005 is by focusing on more driver screening. This was followed by improved driver retention, and the integration of safety in hiring, firing, and benefits compensation decisions.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a $25,000 accident to a carrier with a 2% profit margin results in the operator needing to generate another $1.25 million in revenue to pay for the losses. While moving beyond Department of Transportation-required background checks to address these costs is a step in the right direction, only 35% of those surveyed indicated they coupled background checks with other advanced screening tools, such as job-fit screening questions, to identify the best drivers to hire.

Unicru also found that just 21% of respondents had automated any portion of the hiring process. Those that had integrated screening and hiring through automation reported an average driver turnover of 23%, versus an average turnover of 69% for carriers relying on a paper-based hiring system.

The discussion also centered on carriers needing to stop being distracted by a driver shortage and begin focusing on ways to increase the quality of their drivers. Tying driver performance back into recruiting and screening was also emphasized. Other recommendations include:

Recruiting and hiring:

  • Use technology to pre-screen and eliminate useless administration.

  • Integrate additional background screening beyond DOT standards.

  • Incorporate assessments.

  • Prioritize candidates for recruiters.

  • Ensure involvement of key departments such as safety, operations, and loss prevention, in the hiring process.

On the job:

  • Keep doing what's working (eg, safety bonus/incentive programs, newsletters, safety training, and orientation programs).

  • Use pre-hire assessments to help drive individual training and mentoring.

Leaving the company:

  • Update the Driver Investigation History Files (DIHF).
  • Incorporate exit evaluations.
  • Tie performance and tenure back into hiring.
  • Measure and adjust accordingly.

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