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34 CHAPTER 5 OPERATIONAL SAFETY MANAGEMENT METHODS This chapter presents management techniques and prac- · Reduced crashes and incidents tices to improve CMV driver safety performance and, in par- · Reduced driver turnover ticular, reduce the problem of high-risk drivers. · Increased driver satisfaction · Increased customer satisfaction 5.1 CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF · Ensuring proper process for all applicants DRIVER IMPROVEMENT · Increased quality of the drivers hired · Increased company profitability Conceptually, there are at least two distinct ways that the overall safety performance of a group of drivers may improve. Elite motor carriers are able to establish rigorous selection Figure 14 illustrates these. In Figure 14a, the highest-risk processes resulting in a small selection ratio; that is, a small drivers are eliminated from the distribution (e.g., they are percentage of applicants are selected and hired. A fundamen- never hired), thus "cutting off the tail" of the driver risk distri- tal principle of personnel selection is that low selection ratios bution. Even if other drivers are not affected, this intervention (the ratio of hires to applicants) result in higher quality employ- would have the effect of improving the performance of the ees. One goal of the staffing function in organizations is to average driver of the group by eliminating the greatest source attract enough potential employees (e.g., applicants) so that of risk. In Figure 14b, the safety performance levels of all, or those selected represent a small percentage. Schneider National most, drivers in a group are improved through some interven- (Osterberg 2004) is one large carrier that has been able to tion. The entire curve shifts toward lower risk. Here again the attract a large number of driver applicants and be highly selec- overall average safety level of the fleet improves, but it is tive in its hiring. Figure 15 below demonstrates its highly selec- through "across the board" improvement. Any safety manage- tive process. ment practice directed at all the drivers in a fleet would have this Achieving this degree of selectivity is difficult or impossi- effect if it is effective. Of course, the ideal would be to employ ble for most motor carriers because of the nationwide shortage both kinds of interventions and get both kinds of benefit. of commercial drivers and the fact that most fleets cannot offer sufficiently attractive salaries, benefits, and job conditions to attract a surplus of applicants. Nevertheless, companies can 5.2 RECRUITING/SELECTION/HIRING institute systematic processes, such as those described in the As one safety manager respondent put it, "Don't hire your- following subsections. Appendix F provides additional infor- self a problem . . . Driver selection is critical." The central mation, job aids, and sample forms relating to driver selection premise of this research project is that there are very significant and hiring. individual differences among commercial drivers in driving safety and that much of the variation in risk is related to consti- Advertising Open Positions. Advertising can be in both tutional or other long-term driver traits. A major implication is local newspapers and national trade publications. Include infor- that the best way to reduce the impact of high-risk drivers is to mation on positive aspects of the job (to attract applicants) but improve driver selection and hiring so that these individuals can also on minimum qualifications (to accomplish initial screen- be eliminated before they become a liability or management ing). Minimum requirements might include the following: problem for the fleet. Another safety manager respondent com- · Be at least 21 years old mented, "We try to recognize the risk-taking drivers AHEAD · Have at least 2 years commercial driving experience of time through background checks, MVRs, DAC [data arc · Pass DOT physical consulting], past employers--and then NOT HIRE them." · Have a clean driving record · Pass a substance abuse test 5.2.1 Systematic Hiring · Have a commercial driver's license (CDL) There are many potential benefits of a systematic driver Telephone/Walk-in Interview. Interested persons will recruiting, selection, and hiring process, including the typically telephone or visit the company. Whoever takes the following: call or handles the visit should be as friendly and cordial as
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35 (a) "Cut off the tail" of the distribution, e.g., eliminate high-risk drivers. (b) Move the distribution; e.g., reduce risk for all drivers Figure 14. Two conceptual mechanisms of improvements to a group of drivers. possible, but also should make sure the individual under- · Speak and read English well enough to function in the stands the minimum requirements and the need to submit a job and respond to official questions fully completed application. · Be able to drive the vehicle safely · Be able to transport passengers and/or cargo safely Driver Application. Generally, a driver must meet the · Have only one current valid commercial driver's license following requirements (per FMCSR 391.11): · Take a road test or present evidence of a road test · Not be disqualified from driving a commercial motor · Have good health · Be at least 21 years of age vehicle Carriers are required to maintain a qualification file for each employee, which includes performing mandatory checks with past employers (previous 3 years for all jobs, previous 10 years for commercial driving jobs) and obtaining the driver's motor vehicle report (MVR) of past crashes and violations. Careful review and verification of all the informa- tion on the driver's application are critical to hiring good drivers and avoiding hiring mistakes. Third-party services can, for a fee, assist companies in compiling pre-employment screening information on applicants. Among the services that these companies can provide are background checks of criminal history and credit history and rating. These may be related to fleet and cargo security as well as to safety. The safety rationale for them is that criminal records and bad credit may be signs of irresponsible or socially maladjusted behavior patterns. Selection Tests. Various selection tests can be adminis- tered to applicants if they are validated. These are discussed Figure 15. Selectivity of Schneider National driver hiring. in the Section 5.2.2.