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Unicru Finds Truckload Carriers Focused on Driver Screening to Improve Safety Performance


PORTLAND, Ore.--April 5, 2005--In a recent survey conducted by Unicru at the Truckload Carrier Association’s Annual Convention, it was found that the leading way carriers plan to address their safety performance in 2005 is through a focus on increased driver screening. This was followed closely by improved driver retention, and the integration of safety in hiring, firing and benefits compensation decisions. Improving safety performance is an important issue to the industry as, according to the latest numbers posted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the average cost of large truck crashes exceeds $19.6 billion annually, including $6.6 billion in productivity losses, $3.4 billion in resource costs, and $9.6 billion in quality-of-life losses.

In a presentation entitled Building a Safety-Conscious Driver Organization, Adam Mertz, senior manager of transportation workforce solutions at Unicru, said, “Hiring practices directly affect safety performance, yet many carriers take what they can get from their recruiting process. Using advanced screening strategies as part of a comprehensive program to go beyond what drivers have done in the form of experience and skills to focus on what they can do and what they want to do will help carriers find the best-fit drivers. Advanced companies who evolve their hiring process will increase the quality of their workforce, affecting long-term retention, safety performance and overall business health.”

A $25,000 accident to a carrier with a two percent profit margin results in the operator needing to generate an additional $1.25 million in revenue to pay for the losses, according to the FMCSA. While moving beyond the DOT-required background checks to address these costs is a step in the right direction, only 35 percent of those surveyed by Unicru indicated they coupled background checks with other advanced screening tools, such as job-fit screening questions, to identify those drivers who are the best fit and subsequently have the highest likelihood to remain on the job longest.

Unicru results also found that only 21 percent of respondents indicated they had automated any portion of the hiring process. Those that that had integrated screening and hiring through automation reported an average driver turnover of 23 percent, compared to an average turnover of 69 percent for carriers still relying on a paper-based hiring system.

In addition, the discussion centered on the fact that carriers need to stop being distracted by a driver shortage and begin focusing on ways to increase the quality of their drivers. Companies in the audience identified using advanced screening in order to find, hire, and keep the best-fit drivers, clearly defining hiring qualifications, and ensuring that they are followed consistently as three key steps toward this goal. Tying driver performance back into the recruiting and screening process was also emphasized.

In addition to these steps, other recommendations given at the session for improving safety performance in driver employment include the following.

Recruiting and Hiring:

-- Utilize technology to pre-screen and eliminate useless administration

-- Integrate additional background screening beyond DOT standards

-- Incorporate assessments

-- Prioritize candidates for recruiters

-- Ensure involvement of key departments such as safety, operations and loss prevention, in optimizing the hiring process

On the Job:

-- Keep doing what’s working (e.g. safety bonus/incentive programs; newsletters; safety training and orientation programs)

-- Use pre-hire assessments to help drive individual training and mentoring

Leaving the Company:

-- Update the Driver Investigation History Files (DIHF)

-- Incorporate exit evaluations

-- Tie performance and tenure back into hiring

-- Measure and adjust accordingly

The Unicru solution benefits trucking organizations by delivering the best-fit employees, which drives workforce quality and increases performance, customer service and decreases insurance costs. Dedicated to improving carriers’ business performance through employee selection, the Unicru trucking solution addresses the sourcing, selection, hiring and retention needs of carriers throughout a company’s job roles. It does so through two modules -- Field, including drivers, freight handlers, and warehouse administrators and managers, and Headquarter -- that are tailored to the different hiring workflows and processes for each unique job.

About Unicru

Unicru is the leading provider of Total Workforce Acquisition solutions that enable enterprises to systematically select the highest quality employees across job roles throughout the enterprise to positively impact corporate outcomes through workforce initiatives. Unicru combines scientifically proven employee selection assessments, applicant recruitment, hiring management decision support, and complete data capture for measurement and continuous improvement of business results for over 60 enterprises, including Albertsons, Universal Studios, Blockbuster, CVS, Kroger, and Southeastern Freightlines. For more information, visit

Unicru is a registered trademark of Unicru, Inc.


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