Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Risk Based on Age and Driving Experience
Dunn, Naomi J.
Soccolich, Susan A.
Hickman, Jeffrey S.
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The commercial motor vehicle (CMV) industry comprises a largely aging workforce, which adds to a widely held concern about a growing CMV driver shortage. As CMV drivers age and retire, there are fewer workers to step in and fill the gap. A possible solution to this problem is to recruit and hire younger drivers, although this poses a potential safety risk due to a lack of CMV driving experience among the younger driver population. However, it is largely unknown in the CMV industry what impact age has on driver risk independent of CMV driving experience, and vice versa. Thus, this study used data collected and compiled in a study sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Commercial Driver Safety Risk Factors (Hickman et al., under Agency review), from more than 9,000 CMV drivers to determine the impact of age and CMV driving experience on crash rates, crash involvement, and moving violations. The results indicate that, while both age and CMV driving experience play a role in driver risk, CMV driving experience is more important than age when considering risk. This may be especially true for older inexperienced CMV drivers (e.g., over 55 years of age with less than 1 year of CMV driving experience), who had higher crash rates and odds of being involved in a crash than their younger, inexperienced counterparts. Generally speaking, the first year of driving a CMV is riskier in terms of crash rates, crash involvement, and moving violations, regardless of age. Thus, motor carriers may want to focus on driver training, including engaging older, experienced drivers in driver mentoring programs to share their knowledge with inexperienced CMV drivers. In addition, there are vehicle technologies that use dash cameras to help fleet managers improve driver safety, such as the Lytx DriveCam system. These cameras continually record video and provide evidence-based opportunities for driver training, which may provide additional benefits.