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45 Another possible risk avoidance strategy was employed of safety management and asked them to select two of the by Carrier C, which operates in a U.S. state permitting 8-axle five they considered most important in determining safety "B-Train" trailer combinations with more than twice the outcomes. The five choices were as follows: cargo capacity of conventional single trailers. In this case, risk avoidance would be achieved by increasing driver and 1. Driver preparation--pre-hire CMV driving training vehicle productivity without corresponding increases in and testing; for example, basic school training and crash severity or frequency. CDL testing. 2. Driver selection and hiring--company driver recruit- Otherwise, interviewees did not mention the kind of risk ing, screening, selection, and hiring (includes both avoidance issues discussed in CTBSSP Synthesis 21 or rep- mandatory and voluntary hiring practices). resented schematically in Figure 9. To some extent, small 3. Company communications to drivers--driver orienta- carriers may "not see the forest for the trees" with regard to tion, finishing, safety meetings, refresher training, pol- operational efficiencies that may also decrease crash risks. icy announcements, and safety reminders. Also, although small carriers often have a high level of flex- 4. Driver evaluation--company monitoring and evalua- ibility to respond to customer demands, they do not have tion of individual drivers; for example, violation and enough drivers and vehicles to employ different deployment incident tracking, ride-alongs, covert observations of strategies that might avoid risk. driving, and onboard computer monitoring. 5. Company rewards and discipline--for example, incen- tives, feedback, recognition, letters (both commenda- DRIVER HIRING tions and reprimands), bonuses, pay increases/decreases, Most of management is Human Resource Management and other consequences imposed by management. (HRM). One may speak of "cradle-to-grave" HRM incorpo- rating employee recruiting, selection, hiring, orientation, Figure 10 presents the proportion selecting each choice. training, supervision, evaluation, retention, and termination. Safety manager and other expert response profiles were quite This section addresses driver hiring (including recruiting, similar. Within both groups, driver selection received the sec- selection, and initial hiring) and the next two sections address ond highest number of votes behind driver evaluation. Both other HRM stages. driver selection and evaluation may be considered assessment activities, whereas the other three choices, all receiving fewer votes, may be considered interventions to change behavior. Importance of Driver Selection These results suggest that many respondents considered dri- ver characteristics to be relatively enduring and resistant to Numerous studies have revealed large and persistent individ- change. Therefore, it is critical to assess driver safety-relevant ual differences in driver crash risk (Knipling et al. 2004). For characteristics accurately. example, in one naturalistic driving (instrumented vehicle) study of commercial drivers (Hickman et al. 2005), 95 drivers were rank-ordered by their rate of involvement in at-fault road Driver Selection Methods incidents. The worst drivers, with just 19% of total exposure, accounted for 53% of all at-fault events. The rest of the FMCSRs require carriers to perform certain actions in hiring drivers had 81% of the exposure, but just 47% of the risk. For commercial drivers. According to 49 CFR Section 391.51 carriers of all sizes there is a safety premium on selecting and as summarized in FMCSA (2008), carriers must ensure good drivers for employment. As stated in the ATA Founda- that any driver hired meets federal minimum qualifications. tion publication SafeReturns (ATAF 1999b), "starting with To document this, carriers must maintain a qualification file the right people is key to overall safety performance." for each employee with the following information: CTBSSP Synthesis 21 (Knipling et al. 2011) reviewed · Driver's application for employment (completed and driver selection methods in carriers of all sizes. Systematic signed). driver selection involves assessment of various safety-relevant · Driver's MVR of past crashes and violations from the driver traits, such as personality, attitudes, psychomotor per- applicable state agency for the preceding 3 years. formance, medical status and conditions, behavioral history · Driver's road test certificate or the equivalent. A current (particularly driving history), and mental abilities. Specific CDL is evidence of road test completion. selection procedures and tests described are generally those · Annual review of driving record based on state agency designed to target one of these areas or, often, a more specific inquiry and carrier review. Certification that driver meets dimension within one of these areas. minimum requirements is signed by the carrier. · Annual driver's certification of violations. CTBSSP Synthesis 21 included a survey of both carrier · Medical examiner's certificate. safety managers and other experts in motor carrier safety. · Record of inquiry(ies) to previous employer(s) for past One question presented respondents with five different areas 3 years.
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46 0.8 0.7 0.6 Respondent Vote 0.5 Proportion 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 Driver Prep. & Basic Driver Selection & Company Driver Evaluation Rewards & Discipline Training Hiring Communications Safety Managers Other Experts FIGURE 10 Judged safety importance of different management areas in Synthesis 21 survey. Each respondent had two votes. Source: Knipling et al. (2011). CTBSSP Synthesis 21 (Knipling et al. 2011) identified from all carrier size categories considered driver hiring crite- additional carrier methods to improve commercial driver ria to be important to safety. Among trucking companies in selection, with emphasis on specific tests and measurements the 1024 vehicle category, more than 80% required in- used in making employment decisions. The study identified person interviews, tested for alcohol and drugs during screen- 15 driver hiring practices reported to be effective for motor ing, and conducted on-road driving tests before hiring. Small carriers, and an additional nine practices that might be help- (1024 vehicle) carrier percentages relating to other specific ful for some fleets. The following are some of the key hiring practices were as follows: practices applicable to companies of any size: · Use third-party services to review driver histories: 39%. · Use multiple types of assessments (e.g., driving test, · Require a minimum number of years of experience: interview, and review of records) to capture a variety of 52%. driver characteristics and the "whole person." · Allow specific maximum number of points/crashes/ · Use the FMCSA PSP service to see past crash involve- violations: 80%. ments and inspection data. · Require a written test on DOT regulations: 40%. · Review driving records with special focus on major violations (e.g., reckless driving). In the Stock study (2001), the percentage of carriers engag- · Assess past crashes with regard to preventability and, ing in various hiring practices generally varied directly with when possible, specific causes. carrier size. For example, the percentages of responding carri- · Conduct a road and range driving test of every applicant ers requiring a minimum number of years of experience for using a standardized checklist or rating form. drivers were: 19 vehicles (50%), 1024 vehicles (52%), · Conduct a standardized interview to tap key driver 2550 vehicles (64%), 51100 vehicles (67%), and >100 vehi- safety-related traits and skills directly related to the job. cles (73%). Bus respondents (all sizes combined) were at 48%. · Assess, either through interviews or questionnaires, Although Stock's data are probably indicative, they are more driver personality traits such as aggressiveness, impul- than ten years old and were not statistically representative of siveness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, manageabil- all U.S. carriers. A qualitative difference between small carri- ity, and attitudes toward risk. ers and large ones was also noted in the study. No statistics · Select for retention as well as for safety, as the two are were provided, but Stock reported that some of the small car- riers in that study stated that they hired only drivers who were associated. · Provide applicants with as much information as possi- personally known to them prior to hire. This might be an advan- tage for small carriers, although it suggests that these carriers ble on the company, job, and hiring procedures so there are not casting a wide net in their driver recruiting. are "no surprises." · Maintain a detailed and comprehensive assessment file for each driver. Employee Hiring in Small Companies · Require a probationary period for new hires. Two nontransportation management studies provide insights In the I-95 Corridor Coalition Coordinated Safety Man- into employee recruiting and hiring in smaller companies. agement study (Stock 2001), a large majority of respondents Carroll et al. (1999) asked whether small companies use
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47 systematic, formalized hiring procedures such as those out- Marchington's companies tended to hire drivers they lined in textbooks or used in some large organizations. The already knew, such as individuals initially hired for other companies studied ranged from 7 to 207 employees, and rep- jobs in their companies. They often hired their former drivers resented 5 different sectors, including trucking. They found who had left for other firms but then returned. Study compa- that often small companies generally hire workers in an infor- nies did not approach driver hiring in a systematic or formal mal manner. None of the companies conducted job analyses, manner; they did not employ personnel specialists, did not in part because they believed that job tasks were variable and conduct job analyses, and did not like working with driver that written descriptions would be too rigid. Most companies recruiting firms. The companies often found themselves preferred closed searches for new hires. That is, instead of recruiting drivers continuously over long periods of time to conducting an open search using advertising or recruitment field sufficient drivers for their workload. A general strategy agencies, they favored simply "spreading the word" among was to maximize driver retention by establishing personal existing employees that they were hiring new staff. Managers relationships with each driver hired as well as providing assumed that their current employees could judge their ac- competitive pay and other tangible benefits. quaintances' suitability for the job and whether they would "fit in" well in the company. The hiring emphasis was often on "interpersonal fit" rather than on an objective comparison Survey and Interview Findings of job tasks and requirements to applicant qualifications. Survey Question 6 asked respondents to rate the safety In a similar study of 27 firms in Australia, Barrett and importance of "recruiting and selecting good drivers." This Neeson (2007) found that many small companies did not item received an average of 3.3 on the 04 scale, the high- analyze their jobs and had no list of required skills or other est average rating assigned to any of the 14 safety problems qualifications for their jobs. Most of their managers could presented. In Question 31, driver selection and hiring was verbally state the attributes they were looking for in new rated as the most important of ten safety management areas employees. However, those without written documentation presented. Questions 17 and 18 concerned specific driver of job requirements had difficulty reliably assessing new hiring practices. On Question 17, 92 of 110 respondents applicants. This Australian study went one step further: it indicated that they conducted road and range driving tests compared the use of formal hiring and other HRM practices with all new driver applicants. Those using the practice with company growth. The study found that 16 of the 27 assigned it a mean effectiveness rating of 3.0 on the small companies that formalized their HRM processes [e.g., 04 scale. Question 18 asked if respondents "have driver by documenting job tasks, knowledge, skills, and attitudes applicants complete a questionnaire on attitudes, personal- (KSAs), and minimum employee qualifications] were more ity, or driving behaviors." Only 20 of 112 respondents did successful in finding better employees than the 11 that did so, and it also received a mean effectiveness rating of 3.0 not. Managers of companies with formalized HRM processes from practitioners. and documentation were able to "sell their vision" of employee and company success to new applicants. This clarity of pur- A number of survey comments addressed driver selection pose appeared to help these companies make a profit and and hiring, including the following: grow over time. · It is all about having/hiring the right people who have Marchington et al. (2003) conducted case studies of truck- the right attitude. Then monitoring their progress helps ing firms in Britain and their driver hiring practices. All were keep them on track. small-to-medium family businesses that had been in opera- · We only hire experienced competent drivers. They know tion for 20 years or more. These carriers were concerned both their job. about the shortage of qualified drivers and the difficulty of · The most important safety feature in a truck is the driver. finding good drivers when applicants were scarce. However, That is why we are very selective in our recruiting and the companies were not aggressive about hiring new drivers try to be at the top of the pay scale to attract the highest and about company growth in general. Reasons for their quality driver. general reticence to grow included: · Know who you are hiring, and do not make exceptions to hiring good drivers. It will harm you down the road. · They were generally satisfied with their market niche · Our biggest company problem is finding drivers. and current close customer relations; · They were somewhat afraid to grow larger and thus be All ten of the case study interviewees either chose "driver forced to compete with "the big boys"; selection and hiring" as a most-important safety management · They did not want to invest in new facilities, equipment, practice and/or mentioned it as such in their comments. Most and personnel; and of the managers personally interviewed and road tested · There was a strong desire to maintain family control driver applicants. Often the managers already knew driver and succession to future generations. These might be applicants before they applied. By and large, however, driver threatened by rapid or excessive growth. selection procedures were not as elaborate as those described