National Truck Driver Appreciation Week gets a lot of media coverage. Originally a creation of the American Trucking Associations, today we see billboards lining the interstates, newspaper editorials, social media engagement, and road team captains on the 6 o’clock news. Truly, truck drivers shine in September.
Safety is the core of many of these stories. That makes recent reports from the American Transportation Research Institute highlighting apparent connectivity between safety performance and active association membership a perfect fit for September trucking coverage.
Without delving into the methodology and statistical results here, we’ll agree with the findings that association membership correlates with better safety performance. Specifically, ATRI concluded that Current ATA members have better safety performance data, on average, than former members and those that never joined.
Of course, we could probably apply these conclusions to the associations not included in ATRI’s research who are also strong industry leaders in safety and recognize the importance of drivers. Associations like:
- Truckload Carriers Association routinely host safety-focused meetings and conferences and its professional drivers of the year and a highway angel program, among others.
- Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), which sponsors an International Driver Excellence Award annually;
- Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which celebrates drivers through its safe driver recognition and college scholarship
Indeed, there is a value-added element in safety professionals learning from each other and sharing best practices during Safety Management Council meetings, along with their executives’ discussions at board meetings, annual conferences, conventions, and the like. These conversations and learnings can trickle down and ultimately help carriers to make their drivers safer.
We posit the age-old question, though: The chicken or the egg? Are the carriers who are active association members safer because they participate? Or are they already doing the right things right, keeping safety top of mind? Perhaps, in their minds, association membership is one of those “right things?”