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New ATRI survey: CSA didn't hurt driver availability as much as thought

“Specifically, only a small fraction of currently employed drivers have been put out of work explicitly due to CSA,” the report said. “This is a marked deviation from industry expectations; shortly after CSA was introduced, experts were predicting that 10 to 20 percent of drivers would be terminated as a result of the program.”

The Trucker News Services

12/4/2012

ARLINGTON, Va. — The availability of professional truck drivers has not been impacted as much as previously thought by CSA considering the economy and existing demographic trends, says a new ATRI survey.

So concludes a portion of a 79-page survey report “Compliance, Safety, Accountability: Evaluating a New Safety Measurement System and Its Implications” published Tuesday by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRII), the research arm of the American Trucking Associations.

The report includes input from more than 6,000 commercial vehicle drivers, over 1,000 motor carriers, dozens of shippers and almost 40 law enforcement personnel.

“Specifically, only a small fraction of currently employed drivers have been put out of work explicitly due to CSA,” the report said. “This is a marked deviation from industry expectations; shortly after CSA was introduced, experts were predicting that 10 to 20 percent of drivers would be terminated as a result of the program.”

The report said that recognizing that previous research found that roughly 10 percent of drivers account for nearly half of all safety incidents, it was estimated that at least 10 percent of truck drivers would become unemployed once CSA went into effect.

“Despite the high level of concern, however, ATRI’s motor carrier surveys revealed that close to 90 percent of carriers have fired from 0 percent to just 5 percent of their workforce – well short of the expectations the industry had that 10 to 20 percent of drivers would be ineligible to continue operating a truck due to CSA.

The report said CSA’s effect has primarily been felt by prospective truck drivers. “Employers report less leeway when evaluating driver applicants’ driving records compared to current employees,” the report said. “This makes sense since employers have more extensive knowledge of current drivers than of applicants, including insights into personality traits, behavioral patterns and home lives; therefore, employment decisions can often factor in information beyond a driver’s MCMIS or MVR data (not to mention, employers may be privy to explanations behind safety infractions or FMCSR violations).”

On the other hand, ATRI said it found that applicants are principally defined by their driving histories.

“And since 2010, PSP has been particularly impactful in screening out a high percentage of undesirable drivers,” the report said. “While this is a laudable practice that will likely keep the safety bar elevated, a consequence is that most employers now find it somewhat or extremely difficult to find and hire new qualified drivers. This figure grew from 72 percent of carriers in ATRI’s 2011 survey to 83 percent in ATRI’s 2012 survey, alongside the trend of carriers increasingly incorporating PSP into hiring practices.”

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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