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Compromising Truck Driver Hiring Standards

“We need drivers to fill our trucks.” 
“How are we going to continue to grow if we cannot find acceptable new drivers?” 
“What if we compromise our hiring standards for just one or two drivers to get us through the busy season?” 
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These are thoughts that are on the minds of trucking company owners and executives. With the current driver shortage, it is very tempting to compromise on your companies driving standards (or even change them) in order to get warm bodies in the cabs and trucks on the road.  But what are the potential costs of this?

A recent University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center Study shows the following statistics:

  • Drivers with one traffic conviction during the past two years have two times as many accidents as those with no violations
  • Drivers with 2 convictions had almost 3 times as many as those with no convictions
  • Drivers with 3 convictions have 4.3 times as many accidents

Suggesting that your standards should be to hire only drivers that have zero violations on their record is extreme. However, it's important to be aware of the statistics when setting driver standards for your company. 

Just the pure number of violations doesn’t always tell the whole story, however. An American Transportation Research Institute Evaluation of 540,000 drivers and their MVR histories shows that the four convictions with the highest likelihood of a future crash are:

  • Improper or erratic lane change
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • Improper turn
  • Failure to maintain proper lane

When a driver receives a conviction for one of these behaviors, the likelihood of a future crash increases by about 100%.

So now its decision time, and it is up to you to make the call on a driver.  What do you do? 

Though you cannot control everything that happens on the open highway, you can control who is representing your company in your trucks. Taking a hard line on your Driving Standards is a simple step to take.

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Topics: Transportation Safety / Compliance