Commercial Transportation Owners Need to Beef Up Screening to Ensure Driver Compliance

Commercial transportation fleet owners need to better screen and qualify drivers in order to ensure compliance with new federal initiatives, according to the LexisNexis 2011 Commercial Driver Safety Report released last week.

The study revealed several troubling trends indicating a growing gap between compliance and safety programs. For instance, the research found that commercial driver applications with incomplete or inaccurate information increased 20 percent in 2011, reaching 31.42 percent, up from 11.78 percent in 2010.

In addition, commercial drivers' motor vehicle reports (MVRs) with adverse findings, which can indicate one or more violations (such as a revoked license), are consistently increasing steadily year after year rising from 48.2 percent in 2008 to 50.33 percent in 2011.

And, with regard to drug testing:


Cocaine usage increased by seven percentage points. LexisNexis says this increase could be attributed to a recovering economy and changes in drug testing parameters.


Amphetamine usage increased by two percentage points.


Opiate usage demonstrated a slight increase.


Phencyclidine usage showed a slight decrease.

Clearly, fleet owners need to improve their practices to ensure compliance with the Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) initiative by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Rolled out in December 2010, the CSA was implemented to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicles. Based on the results of the its report, however, LexisNexis suggests that organizations review their own processes to enhance compliance by intervening immediately and providing data to alert customers of safe hires.

"Our findings continue to show the challenges transportation organizations, and those employing commercial drivers, face when monitoring their drivers and trying to meet compliance standards," said Hayley Hitchcock, director, vertical strategy, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. "Due to the inherent hazards associated with driving, fleet owners and managers need to conduct adequate due diligence before placing any employee in a position that requires driving. Failure to do so could expose the company to substantial fines, damage to their reputation and brand, and potential litigation."

The full study is available at http://lexisnexis.com/risk/commercialdriver. (Registration required.)

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