Examining the Relationship Between CMV Driver Retention and Safety

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National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence


Many segments in the trucking industry experience extremely high rates of driver turnover. Although some research has shown a link between high driver turnover and increased crash risk, it is not known if voluntary turnover affects crash risk. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between voluntary and involuntary driver turnover with involvement in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)-reportable crashes and moving violations. This study used data collected in the recently completed Commercial Driver Safety Risk Factors study, which examined individual driver risk factors using a sample of 21,000 drivers from a single, large, for-hire carrier. Poisson regression models were used to measure the relationship between safety outcome rate and the employment status of the drivers. Overall, drivers who had continuous employment were significantly less likely to be involved in a future FMCSA-reportable crash or receive a violation compared to drivers that left the carrier at any time. Furthermore, drivers that left the carrier without a recent crash were significantly less likely to be involved in an FMCSA-reportable injury crash compared to drivers that left the carrier following a recent crash. These results support the need for carriers to adopt programs and policies designed to encourage safe drivers to remain at the same carrier and thus help to realize lower crash rates.



transportation safety, commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), trucking industry, employee turnover, crash risk