Knipling et al (2003) has indicated that some carriers have become havens for, and even attract, unsafe drivers. Both empirical and anecdotal evidence, however, support that â€œsafeâ€ carriers â€“ as defined by numerous metrics including SafeStat scores, safety awards and industry safety statistics â€“ produce, attract and retain safe drivers. While all major components that make up the â€œsafety climateâ€ of a motor carrier have not been adequately studied in past research, specific safety factors and correlations that contribute to safety culture do exist. These include compensation schema (ATA); non-financial reward programs (Transanalytics, ATRI); and ISO 9000 certificationâ€™s nexus to safety (Naveh, 2003). Other industry sectors such as aviation, mining and heavy equipment manufacturing also contain safety-sensitive positions and have researched the tangible and intangible mechanisms that contribute to a positive safety environment.
As part of a Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program (CTBSSP), Short, Boyle et al, (2007) synthesized the current available research and literature relating to safety culture. The study showed that there were specific ties between the available body of knowledge and the motor carrier industries. The effort also included a data collection component, consisting of convenience sample surveys and interviews of motor carrier safety managers and commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, as well as case study data collected onsite, directly from motor carriers. The culmination of this report provided suggested steps for increasing safety culture through a series of best practices.
The report made a first attempt at identifying and analyzing significant safety and non-safety programs and initiatives across relevant sectors that does or could create and support a positive safety culture within the trucking and motor coach industries. Some of the gaps identified in the report included (1) the possibility of a disconnect between expectations from a safety culture and those that exist within other professional cultures within the organization they operate in; or alternatively (2) the driver identifies strictly with the professional culture they operate under. These programs and initiatives resulted in a list of best practices with factors that are most likely to offer the greatest influence on developing and enhancing a culture of safety.
A survey completed by 31 organizations within these industries was completed as part of a Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program (CTBSSP) #14 Synthesis Team. The results provide some insights into the safety beliefs and attitudes of these drivers and the organizational needs to maintain a stable workforce and positive safety climate. The report provides descriptions of the data collected but lack any derived inferences that can help shape the safety culture.
The expected results of this research project are the development of a set of key factors that capture the essence of a safety climate within the truck and busing industries. This will be achieved through multivariate statistical analysis of the existing survey data that has been made available to the principal investigator. The outcomes will provide insights for the trucking industry to communicate a safety culture to their employees and thereby translate into a stable workforce, and reduce truck crashes.