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SAFETY MANAGEMENT IN SMALL MOTOR CARRIERS SUMMARY This report synthesizes current information on safety management in small motor carriers (commercial truck and bus companies) in North America. The report provides information to assist small motor carriers in improving their safety performance. The goals of the study are: (1) to identify useful practices for safety management in small companies, and (2) to outline a logical and practical progression to more active and comprehensive safety management for small companies as they grow. Small companies are defined here as those with more than one driver, but with too few drivers and vehicles to afford to designate a manager with the primary title and function of Safety Manager. Furthermore, these are companies where there is a company owner/manager who drives less than 50% of the time (i.e., is not primarily a driver) and who performs most management and supervision tasks, including those relating to safety and compliance. Most of these carriers have 5 to 20 vehicles. In general, project information was obtained through reviews of research on motor carrier safety, safety management, and organizational management. Additional information was gathered from government and industry experts. The project also acquired information from motor carrier managers who were surveyed with regard to safety management problems and practices. The report includes ten case studies of small carriers' safety management practices. It also reports research and development needs as they came to light during the study. The following five truck and bus industry trade associations participated in the study by forwarding the project survey request to their members and by providing other information and support. · American Bus Association (ABA) · Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC) · National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) · OwnerOperator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) · United Motorcoach Association (UMA). This support was critical to the success and validity of the work. The project survey of motor carrier managers was a judgment sample rather than a nation- ally representative, probability-based sample. That is, the sample was a convenience sample of responding managers who were members of national trade associations judged qualitatively to best represent the target population. Survey results should not be inferred as representative sta- tistical profiles of North American motor carriers or any other larger population. Nevertheless, the survey provided valuable insights into the views and practices of small carrier managers. Information gathered in the project literature review, survey, and other activities is presented in the following organization structure: · Business, operational, and safety management in small companies; · Small company violation and crash rates;
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2 · Vehicle equipment and maintenance; · Operational planning and risk avoidance; · Driver hiring; · Driver orientation, training, and communications; · Driver supervision; · Crash and incident investigation; · Carrier performance tracking and benchmarking; · Management development; and · Comprehensive safety management approaches. From a safety perspective, small carriers have some advantages over larger carriers. Small carrier managers have direct contact almost every day with their drivers, other employees, and vehicles. They can closely monitor all carrier operations; there are no layers in their man- agement structures. Small carriers tend to have relatively low driver turnover rates, perhaps reflecting closer personal relationships within small companies than in large ones. Two major disadvantages are the relative lack of resources (e.g., to buy new safety equipment) and a lack of specialized management (e.g., driver recruiters, trainers, and crash investigators). Small carriers can generally improve their safety performance by adopting practices seen more commonly in larger companies, while retaining small company strengths, if possible. This report identifies 27 management practices with evidence of safety effectiveness. Research to find new knowledge and development efforts toward new tools could con- tribute to more effective safety management in small companies. Several research needs are identified to address unanswered questions about small carrier safety. Suggested develop- ment projects could produce management software, training programs, or other products to aid small companies.