Research Project

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Effectiveness of Fostering Safety Culture in Motor Carriers


To demonstrate whether early, proactive training of new entrant motor carriers makes a significant difference in their safety performance, including crash rate.


“TRB Synthesis Report 14” reported that motor carriers with a safety culture have fewer crashes and better safety performance. However, it could not prescribe how to foster adoption of a safety culture in very small motor carriers. The recent research was applied to new entrant motor carriers because 99 percent of them operate fewer than 15 power units and are too small to employ a safety professional. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also has a new entrant program that reaches 100 percent of new entrant carriers.

Building on lessons learned from a previous FMCSA-sponsored new entrant training and testing initiative in 2005–06, enhanced curriculum and partnering procedures were applied during years 2010–12.


This project demonstrates that it is possible for small new entrant motor carriers to foster adoption of a safety culture via training and testing. Upon completing the training and testing program, new entrant carriers exhibited a number of improvements, including reduced number of safety audit failures, reduction in roadside violations and crashes, greater driver retention, and improved business survival rate. A blended curriculum that incorporates electronic learning (e-learning) with in-person sessions is currently being developed.


This provides important documentation as input to support a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to implement the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) amendment that modified the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act (MCSIA) Section 210(b) requirement.


December 2009       Peer review committee meeting
June 2011               Onsite review of project
March 2013             Completed training
December 2013       Final analysis of results
May 2014                Expansion of report content
June 2014               Presentation on findings
December 2014       Final report




Training is complete. Final report being completed for Agency review. Development of blended curriculum proceeding.


The SAGE Corporation

Updated: Thursday, January 8, 2015
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