One common misconception held by some in the commercial carrier industry suggests that following safety regulations results in lower carrier profits despite the increased risk of truck accidents. Yet poor compliance with federal safety laws has shown an increased amount of semi truck accidents. The Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program with FMCSA is now in full swing; the preliminary results from collected data are showing what the FMCSA had desired, which is better safety compliance equals fewer big rig accidents and higher profits as well.
Recent Data Suggest Increased Carrier Profits
In a recent study done by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) that monitors economic growth and other financial concerns in the trucking industry, results indicate some positive news. Despite past ideas that compliance with safety and maintenance laws cut into carrier profits, the opposite was found to be true. Correlating with the implementation of the CSA program, this study finds a direct association between higher carrier safety ratings and higher profits. This is the best news the FMCSA could have expected to learn from this study. It means their safety and accountability program is already beginning to make a difference in positive ways.
The Idea Behind the CSA
The CSA program was designed to increase truck carrier compliance with Federal safety regulations in an effort to reduce the number of costly semi truck accidents that occur on a yearly basis. The intent of the program is simple: carriers who are found in violation of safety laws gather points that add up to create an overall carrier safety rating. Since the cost of big rig accidents and safety violations affect everyone, including the customers who hire these carriers, the ratings hold an important power to either increase or decrease a carrier’s business. Compliance, violations, and the prevalence of truck accidents also affect other safety-related expenses, such as fines, insurance rates, and damages that must be paid.
The hope has been that carriers who want to maintain a high safety rating would decide to take truck maintenance and avoiding safety violations seriously; despite any misconceptions that it would cut into profits. Although information is still forthcoming about whether the program is resulting in fewer big rig accidents, the data released by the TCA at least shows that companies who do maintain higher safety levels are not generating lower profits.
Why the Idea Works
Many people forget that when truck accidents occur, the cost can be astronomical. Insurance and carrier companies pay out millions of dollars every year after semi truck accidents; however, the cost does not stop there. These accidents cost customers and taxpayers as well in order to reimburse and cover all the damage that is caused. Yet the data released by the TCA indicates a positive trend; where safety pays off in many different ways.
With better hiring and training practices, better compliance with HOS and safety laws, and better performance overall, carriers pay lower insurance premiums. They also pay out less in damages, retain better employees, and hold a better safety rating. As a result, these companies are seeing lower operating costs and increased profitability over the companies who shirk the system and try to cut corners in order to cut costs.
Basically stated, safety compliance means fewer truck accidents and higher profits. By adhering to important federal trucking safety regulations and instilling other safety practices, commercial carriers who comply are having fewer big rig accidents and have higher profit levels as well. With this critical information now available to put any misconceptions to rest, it is suggested that the number of yearly semi truck accidents should decline as carriers seek better safety ratings and the associated higher profits!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190