Drivers, how’s that onboard monitoring system working for you? FMCSA wants to know
In the near future, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hopes to receive permission from the Office of Management and Budget to collect information from 500 commercial motor vehicle drivers using questionnaires. These questionnaires will ask CMV drivers about their expectations, attitudes and acceptance of onboard monitoring systems.
The purpose of the study is to understand whether onboard monitoring and feedback reduces at-risk behavior among CMV drivers and if these onboard monitoring systems improve driver safety performance.
Each CMV driver will receive four unique questionnaires over an 18 month period that will address the CMV drivers’ expectations, experiences and attitudes toward onboard monitoring systems, as well as any changes in their perspectives over the time period. The questionnaires are constructed to evaluate the baseline (no feedback), intervention (receiving feedback), and withdrawal (no feedback) time periods. All questionnaires will be available in both paper and electronic form.
The results of the questionnaires will become part of a larger study report that evaluates how effective onboard monitoring systems are for improving safety and driver performance.
Hair follicle testing reduces pool of driver candidates by up to 15%
Gordon Klemp, president and founder of the National Transportation Institute (NTI), recently participated in a conference call that addressed hair follicle drug testing of new applicants being performed by trucking companies. The NTI performs periodic studies in the trucking community of driver availability, turnover, compensation, and other relevant issues.
The Department of Transportation currently only requires a standard urinalysis. NTI’s recent findings are that several carriers who have implemented hair follicle drug testing have found a significant percentage of otherwise attractive candidates flunking the hair follicle test after they have passed the urinalysis testing. C.R. England, is one such trucking company who has seen this with their own applicants.
Job applicants with the Salt Lake City based truckload carrier are now required to submit a hair sample as part of the pre-employment screening process. C.R. England conducted their own applicant study with the help of Omega Laboratories Inc. Applicants were administered both the urinalysis and follicle tests to all applicants for a year. The results found that more than 11 percent of the applicants tested positive for drug use in the follicle testing while only 2.8 percent were found using the standard urine testing.
Hair follicle testing costs around $150 for each applicants, but Klemp believes that companies see it as money well spent because it is indicative of drug use over a period of time. Dustin England, vice president of safety and compliance with C.R. England, agrees and stated, “We are now firm believers in the benefits of hair testing for the transportation industry.” With this information, C.R. England believes that the company will keep a greater number of potentially dangerous drivers off of the road.
Keeping more drivers off the road is exactly what Klemp is concerned about. He contends that the trucking industry is already struggling from a lack of qualified drivers, especially in the Midwest and Northeast regions. A rough 25 percent of drivers have exited the industry over the past ten years for various reasons such as health issues, and another estimated 10 percent are expected to be removed due to new CSA 2010 implementations.