Freight Trucking

Promising Approach for Predicting Carriers' Safety Risks Gao ID: PEMD-91-13 April 4, 1991

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on whether certain economic or related factors could be used as predictors of accident rates in the freight-trucking industry.

GAO found that: (1) its analysis of data regarding 537 carriers indicated that 7 financial ratios showed promise as predictors of safety problems in the interstate trucking industry, but existing federal databases were not adequate to fully test those predictors; (2) federal collection of truck accident data was essentially independent of its gathering of economic data, and combining the two types of data from separate federal sources was generally impractical; (3) the federal calculation of accident rates for individual motor carriers did not adequately define industry segments or analyze safety trends over time; and (4) there was some evidence that interstate carriers in different markets or different financial situations posed different safety risks. GAO also found that factors affecting accidents rates included: (1) experienced truck drivers; (2) lower paid drivers; (3) company size; and (4) truckers who were owner-operators.


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