Taking the measure of the challenge

Taking the measure of the challenge

A healthy economy means many things for the trucking industry. With business growth comes more to manage: more freight to move, more miles to cover, more vehicles, and more drivers—about 6.2 million as of 2017—to keep everything rolling. The latest numbers from the government, reported in a guide by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), help us measure the size of the challenge.

Start with the number of large trucks registered in the United States: pushing 11.5 million in 2016, according to the Federal Highway Administration. That number grew steadily in the 2.5 to 3 percent range each year since 2013.

Meanwhile, mileage traveled by large trucks was increasing at an accelerating pace, up almost 3 percent in 2016 to 287.9 billion miles. The increase from 2013 to 2014 was just 1.5 percent.

More vehicles and more miles led to more accidents, especially at a time when vehicular traffic of all kinds increased sharply with economic growth. Accidents involving large trucks jumped a whopping 25.7 percent from 2013 to 2014 before leveling off in 2015. Fatal crashes for these vehicles in 2014, 2015, and 2016 increased 3.5 percent, 5.6 percent, and 6.7 percent, respectively.

While all of these increasing risk factors are in play, the numbers of motor carriers and drivers can change continually due to enforcement actions, business turnovers, licensing issues, and more. Numbers of active carriers traced an up-and-down path from 2013 to 2017, hovering between 500,000 and 600,000.

The increasing pressures of the trucking business aren’t a license to set aside safety. It’s as important as ever but difficult to maintain as qualified drivers become harder to find. Support is necessary to screen applicants and find the best employees to operate a commercial fleet.

At iiX, we’re ready to provide that support with driver and employee screening solutions, motor vehicle reports, driver risk management, and more, delivered in real time and backed by an experienced and dedicated team. If you’re looking for a reliable, economical solution to streamline hiring and management, reach out to us anytime.

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Cory Koslin is strategic sales manager of the Verisk Analytics iiX unit, a premier provider of motor vehicle reports (MVRs) and preemployment screening services. He is a 1993 graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, making him one of the few people at iiX who isn’t a diehard fan of Texas A&M. His roots in trucking and transportation go back to the mid-1990s, and for the past six years he has helped companies navigate tailored background screening and driver management solutions.

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