If you’re a driver who doesn’t care what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration thinks or does about you, you needn’t read any further. If you’re interested in seizing a career opportunity, The Trucker may be able to help — so read on.
We all know the government’s new system for assessing carrier and driver safety is just around the corner, and plenty of people in the industry are nervous.
Some trucking companies and a small percentage of drivers rightfully are worried: the point of CSA 2010 is to identify and correct unsafe practices, and the bad actors who won’t get with the program are going to be out of trucking. It’s that simple.
What’s not simple is the vast gray area between perfection and an unfit determination. We all know whether or not we are doing our best. But few of us want to be criticized publicly — and CSA 2010 will mean lots of official criticism.
That’s what’s bothering many in trucking about the new program: it’s one thing for the government to monitor safety practices, it’s another to be measured and compared to industry peers with a report posted to the Web for all the world to see.
Carriers don’t want to look bad to customers, and drivers don’t want to look bad to employers. But because driver behavior is closely linked to truck crashes, drivers are a big part of CSA 2010 (the details of which The Trucker has reported at length, and will continue to report).
The gist is this: the best carriers, with CSA 2010 in place, are going to want and need the best drivers. There’s a driver shortage coming, and warm bodies behind the wheel aren’t going to be good enough — not for long, anyway.
This driver shortage is going to be about quality, and many in trucking suggest it will mean that carriers will have to come up with new and more rewarding ways to recruit and retain good drivers.
Of course, The Trucker doesn’t have a fleet, so we’re not in a position to set the kind of terms drivers might like. But we are in a position to help our readers — 100,000 or so professional, career-minded truckers each and every issue — to identify and contact the kind of carrier that appreciates them.
Micah Jackson, our new publisher, has launched an exclusive program called Five Star Fleets. Set to run in the second issue each month, The Trucker will recognize carriers that we’ve come to know and admire through their industry involvement, peer awards, and driver feedback.
Our review board is looking for carriers that measure up in terms of the Five Star principles:
? Fleet safety
? Long-term financial stability
? Honesty and integrity in day-to-day operations
? Demonstrated respect for drivers, and
? Overall driver satisfaction.
In short, we are providing a platform for Five Star Fleets to explain why an experienced driver should consider working for them, and what Five Star drivers need to do to get on board.
“It is our belief the safest, most reliable and professional drivers in America read The Trucker and they deserve nothing less than the most outstanding and rewarding careers. The carriers featured in Five Star Fleets will be carriers who have proven over time to be committed to the five star principles,” Jackson said. “Just as there is no such thing as a perfect driver, there is no such thing as a perfect carrier, so by no means are we suggesting any carrier is without blemish. However, it’s important to recognize the carriers who can provide Five Star career opportunities to our readers and bring them to the forefront.”
Each edition of The Trucker featuring the Five Star Fleets supplement also will profile one of the honored carriers, and pose questions for the folks drivers need to hear from.
For CEOs, for example, where does the driver fit in your company’s culture? From your role at the top, how do you make your company one where professional drivers want to work — and build a career?
For safety managers, what are you telling your drivers about CSA 2010? What safety programs/tools/training make your company one that professional drivers want to work for?
For recruiters, what opportunities do you offer a career-minded professional driver? How will you evaluate applicants now that you have access to FMCSA data in the Pre-employment Screening report?
And, perhaps most important, for a driver from the company, what do you tell other drivers over coffee when they ask, “what’s it like pulling for them?”
Also, we’ll run a basic company snapshot: how many trucks/drivers, what kind of equipment and in-cab technology they use, what they haul and in what lanes, what experience they’re looking for and what they’ll pay, etc.
The first Five Star section is scheduled for May 15.
Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.