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Data Suggests Truckers Are Driving Toward Working Independently

May 18, 2012 - Truck Accidents by

New research suggests more truck drivers are going out on their own instead of working for a new company. For other drivers on the road in the Charlotte and Rock Hill areas of North Carolina, that could mean added risk of being involved in trucking accidents.

Federal safety data reveals that carrier registrations have climbed 7.5 percent in little more than a year. Active, for-hire trucking carriers counted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA database increased about 13,000 from February 2011 to April 2012, from 155,240 to 166,810, according to an analysis by a company that provides risk management services to shippers.

Qualified Carriers’ CEO thinks the rise in registrants is due to independent truckers going back into business for themselves. He believes during the recession, those same individuals sought shelter as company drivers, prompting first the ebb and now flow in the data.

The risk management services company also analyzed the changes in efficacy of carriers rated as satisfactory, unsatisfactory and conditional. Satisfactory carriers declined by 2.4 percent. So did unsatisfactory ratings, falling 20.5 percent. Meanwhile, conditional ratings jumped 22.8 percent, according to the agency’s CSA system.

The head of Qualified Carriers says the CSA data is useful to determine where to focus enforcement attention. Further, the research shows that about one-third of carriers with a visible score that the company uses to evaluate carrier performance have a fatigued driving alert.

While the industry’s total freight capacity is not really affected by the transition of some truckers from company jobs to working on their own, safety concerns exist. The figures represent a fall in the number of drivers available to carriers. According to the CEO of the risk management services company, this driver shortage could lead to added strain to the schedules of company drivers. The ripple effect, in turn, could increase fatigue and elevate the number of trucking-related accidents.