How Firm Size Affects Safety Performance in the U.S. Motor Carrier Industry

Project status


Start date: 05/01/14
End date: 09/30/14


Principal investigator:

About the research

While previous studies have shown that the characteristics of the driver affect driver involvement in reportable crashes, scant attention has been paid to how the size of the carrier affects crash rates. The purpose of this study was the development of a driver-focused truck crash prediction model with a particular focus on the size of the carrier that the driver is associated with at the time of a state reportable crash. To the extent that we can shed light on some of the factors that contribute to motor carrier crashes, we hope to provide insights into how motor carrier firms, employees, and public policy officials can implement changes to mitigate these safety issues.

Because there are challenges associated with monitoring the safety performance of carriers in the industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) can benefit from a firm-size safety prediction model that can facilitate the targeting of the carriers that most seriously violate U.S. DOT rules and regulations. This initial study helped to begin to enhance the understanding of how the characteristics of carriers contribute to driver involvement in state reportable crashes.

Our findings highlight how there is tremendous potential for an in-depth analysis of how motor carrier size affects safety performance. We identified three exciting future research opportunities and are currently continuing this work:

  • Safety Performance Analysis of Carrier Use of Owner-Operators versus Company Drivers
  • Linkage between Competitive Dynamics of U.S. Motor Carrier Industry and Firm Safety Performance
  • Analysis of the FMCSA New Entrant Program and Safety Performance: Is the New Entrant Program Working?


Report: A Firm Size and Safety Performance Profile of the U.S. Motor Carrier Industry (1.11 mb pdf) November 2014

Related publications:



  • Midwest Transportation Center