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Trucking Risk Advisor

Trucking Risk Advisor

June 2019


This month's Trucking Risk Advisor newsletter focuses on the indirect costs of accidents and explores the CDL Drug and Alcohol resource.


Successful motor carriers have always made safety a priority, both to safeguard their employees and lower the costs associated with accidents. But, with the number of drivers on U.S. roadways increasing, there’s also a rising number of accidents and collisions. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that fatalities from large truck crashes have reached their highest level in 29 years.

Accidents can lead to a number of direct costs for fleets, from medical bills, property damage and vehicle repairs. However, as the demand for increased freight capacity continues to increase, employers that sacrifice safety for increased capacity may not consider these indirect costs:

  • Loss of revenue—Most vehicles involved in an accident need to stay idle for a significant amount of time, leading to lower efficiency or even the complete loss of a delivery order.
  • Fines and penalties—Trucks that cause an accident may face significant traffic violations and FMCSA penalties. Plus, significant FMCSA violations can add to compliance requirements and take some of your attention off of your regular operations.
  • Legal fees—Accidents can lead to significant legal fees from lost freight and third-party claims. Long legal proceedings can be a drain on your finances, regardless of whether you win or lose a claim.
  • Insurance premiums—Insurance carriers continue to raise commercial vehicle policy rates as the number of accidents increases. Even small incidents can lead to significant insurance rate increases as insurers try to recover funds lost from claims.

The best way to make safety a priority during any commercial driving operation is to establish a comprehensive safety program. This should start with a collaborative effort between managers, fleet supervisors, drivers, mechanics and other stakeholders in order to identify safety risks across all aspects of your organization, and develop effective and proactive solutions.


Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released resources regarding the implementation of its Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that gives employers, the FMCSA, state driver licensing agencies and law enforcement personnel real-time access to important information about CDL driver drug and alcohol program violations. In addition, the Clearinghouse will:

  • Centralize testing processing for CDL holders who operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).
  • Help employers and other parties identify ineligible drivers by allowing stakeholders to see if CDL drivers of interest have violated federal drug and alcohol testing program requirements.
  • Ensure that drivers who commit drug and alcohol program violations complete the necessary steps before getting back on the road or performing any other safety-sensitive function.

As of Jan. 6, 2020, motor carriers will be required to use the Clearinghouse to check on a current employee’s status at least once per year. To learn more, click here.