Does less equal more?

| January 01, 2011

“I think the value of drivers will go up,” Klemp says. According to his survey’s results, in dry van and flatbed the decline company driver pay saw during the downturn has already begun reversing, though it hasn’t yet gotten back to 2007 highs. “In lieu of moving pay because rates haven’t come back just yet, an awfully high percentage of the carriers have instituted referral or sign-on bonuses” in the last 15 months or so, Klemp adds, saying he’s seen bonuses of as high as $10,000 for a team.

At the “Perfect Storm” TCA meeting, Jet Express President Kevin Burch said his company reinstituted sign-on bonuses in 2010 in their auto-industry specialized business, for instance. Burch also added that driver safety practices are becoming more and more germane to driver pay with the advent of CSA, and not just in the common safety-bonus fashion. Via the FMCSA Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), it’s now possible for carriers to include past driver roadside inspection data in their qualifications process during hiring. Burch, along with others at the conference, envisioned pay scales being tied in the future more specifically to safety, perhaps to driver CSA scorecards. Drivers “can use this scorecard to their advantage,” Burch said, referring to FMCSA’s internal CSA methodology, which rates drivers for targeting problems in carrier interventions. Though FMCSA decided early on that no driver rating information or system would be public, third-party CSA carrier scorecard provider Vigillo has long offered carriers the ability to rate their current drivers using FMCSA’s published Driver Safety Measurement System methodology.

And now, says company President Steven Bryan, via, Vigillo is offering all drivers in their system — upward of a million as of mid-November, Bryan said, or about a third of the total driver population — access to their own score free of charge. “Every truck driver in America can come to us and say, ‘I’d like to see my scorecard,’” Bryan says. “It’ll look exactly like the PSP report that we’d give to a motor carrier.”

The same driver scorecards will be available through Vigillo to prospective employers, too, making the company for the first time a specialty credit reporting agency. Just as with DAC reports and with the PSP (available to drivers for $10; a comprehensive report, minus the scoring, of driver inspection and crash data, looking back three and five years, respectively), you will have an opportunity to contest erroneous information.

If you’re thinking this is just another prehire service to keep tabs on, Bryan at least sounds positive about Vigillo data quality and at once committed to the cause of drivers when talking about the Roadside Résumé. “Somebody’s got to get these drivers access to their scores,” he says. “We’re anxious to get out there and give some transparency to this whole thing from the perspective of the drivers.”

With rates on the verge of rising, he and other industry watchers suggest, it’s time for the safe driver with a clean PSP and a good CSA score to really reap rewards.

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