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3 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION "It is all about having/hiring the right people who have the right One (1) vehicle: 44.8%. attitude. Then monitoring their progress helps keep them on 25 vehicles: 32.5%. track." 620 vehicles: 15.0%. "Don't get so big that the owner does not know every person 21100 vehicles: 4.0%. on payroll and make it their business to personally check out 1011,000 vehicles: 0.6%. every driver every day! Big companies are a big problem when 1,001+ vehicles: 0.1%. they look only for income and not their relationship with those who provided it." The total number of small U.S. truck and bus companies "Vehicle safety equipment is more often than not too costly is difficult to discern because both the UCR and the Motor for small carriers to obtain in today's economy." Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) contain numerous inactive carriers. In addition, many registered car- "The problem I see is for small carriers trying to keep up with all the changes and regulations that are taking place." riers are not primarily in the transport business, but instead are private companies that operate one or more trucks or buses "Most owner operators and small fleet operators do a good secondarily in support of their core business (manufacturing, job of maintenance and safety but are lacking in the back-up retail, services, etc.). Regardless of these caveats, it is safe aspects such as paper work." to say that the vast majority of U.S. carriers are small, run- "The problem I see is for small carriers trying to keep up with ning 20 vehicles or less. The same UCR data revealed that all the changes and regulations . . ." there are approximately 200,000 motor carriers in the 2 to 20 vehicle range, although the number of active carriers may The "stupid things [other motorists] do . . . create a hazard and put myself and other motorists in danger . . . anything can be just half of that. Regardless, there are tens of thousands of happen out there." small motor carriers in the United States that must operate their vehicles safely and in compliance with federal and state "In many companies, the owner wears many hats. Safety is regulations, while staying financially viable. only one and deciding where to expend your time and resources is a struggle every small company has." Several different definitions of "small carrier" are possi- These statements were made by small motor carrier owners/ ble. According to Small Business Administration criteria, a managers in the survey and in interviews conducted for this "small entity" is a company with annual revenues of less than synthesis study. This study explores the safety management $25.5 million. This translates to an average of 128 power units problems faced by small companies and the safety manage- based on current economic analysis (FMCSA 2010). How- ment approaches they consider most useful. In addition to con- ever, this number of vehicles is far greater than that of the ducting the survey and interviews, the project team performed typical small carrier. Rather than choosing an arbitrary num- a research literature review of small company management, ber of power units to define "small carrier," this project has with emphasis on motor carrier safety management. The goals been based on a functional definition relating to company of the study are to (1) identify useful practices for safety man- management structure. Small carriers are defined here as those agement in small companies, and (2) outline a logical and with more than one driver and vehicle (thus excluding owner practical progression to more active and comprehensive safety operators), but with too few drivers and trucks to afford to des- management for small companies as they grow. ignate a manager with the primary title and function of Safety Manager. These are companies where a single owner/manager performs most or all management tasks, including those relat- BACKGROUND ing to safety. Further, he or she is not primarily a driver (i.e., drives less than 50% of the time), but is primarily a manager. This study addresses Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) trans- E-mail solicitations to participate in the project survey were port companies with a relatively small number of vehicles sent to broader groups of carrier owners/managers; however, and drivers. Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) data (FMCSA the results presented in this report are limited to those meet- 2010) yielded the following breakdown of U.S. motor carriers ing this definition. In the survey, the average carrier meeting by fleet size: this criterion had 10 vehicles.