Think registering your car is a pain? Try registering a large commercial truck.
To begin with, you have to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License, which means both passing rigorous exams and maintaining an incident-free driving record on public roads. Each state in the United States has its own laws and licensing bureaus—even just finding this information can be a hassle. Then, there’s all the paperwork, testing, insurance costs, and state Department of Transportation fees. Add in everything your company has to do to find, train, and retain qualified drivers, and you’re looking at an obstacle course 10 or 100 times as long as your average trip to the DMV.
That said, there’s at least one big benefit to registration: driver safety.
Please share if you know someone who would benefit from seeing these stats.
There are two interesting charts here to the left: Number of Trucks Registered (the green line) and Number of Fatal Crashes (the blue line). Yes, it appears that, over time, the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks has diminished as more commercial fleets have registered their vehicles. What’s interesting though, is the two trends do not coincide in a 1:1 manner, with about half as many fatalities at the lowest point (2009) as there were in the deadliest year, 1979, just three decades prior.
It would be wrongheaded to attribute fewer fatal accidents to registration alone. More stringent training procedures, better-designed cabs, and a greater emphasis on safety in corporate culture all contribute to the trend charted above. At the same time, the rates of accidents swing back and forth with changes in state and federal regulations, meaning that the obligations for registered drivers shift along with policy. And more changes are ahead: for instance, when the upcoming ELD mandate becomes law, the downward trend may continue further.
Want to keep your drivers safe, happy, and productive in any regulatory environment? Make sure to register for 4 Steps to Retain Drivers and Keep the Wheels Rolling, our upcoming webinar with Heavy Duty Trucking magazine.
By the way, we pulled this week’s statistic from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts sheet, which you can review here.
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