The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has added “personal safety” to its statutory focus on highway safety. In a Federal Register notice published in July, the agency announced a survey to be conducted by Battelle, a major research organization, on crimes against female and minority truck drivers.
The public may submit comments on the survey, in government terms, an “Information Collection Request” (ICR), by September 23, 2019. FMCSA will include any public comments in its submission of this ICR, labeled “Crime Prevention for Truckers,” for review and approval by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
The agency says documentary and anecdotal evidence suggests a serious pattern of harassment and assault against female and minority male truckers. The survey intends to understand the prevalence, seriousness, and nature of the problem, potentially leading to FMCSA development of training or outreach materials to help truckers protect themselves. FMCSA notes that the survey findings will also be helpful to “law enforcement personnel, motor carriers, truck drivers, operators of private truck stops, and others interested in addressing the situation.” FMCSA does not propose to initiate regulatory rulemaking based on the survey.
There are two reasons to conduct such a survey, FMCSA says. First is to address a perception of vulnerability among these driver populations. Second is to assist recruitment and retention of truck drivers in the face of a substantial truck driver shortage.
A maximum of 440 female and 440 minority male truck drivers will be included in the survey. Battelle will conduct both in-person and online information gathering, with approximately 160 of the surveys, equally divided, done in-person. Participants must have driven a truck professionally in the last two years. They will be asked if they have experienced race- or gender-related harassment or assault, where and when the incident occurred, information about the perpetrator and whether the crime was reported. For statistical control purposes, Battelle will cap the reports of actual crimes at 400 in each group but will include an additional 40 reports showing no harassment or assault.
All responses will be kept anonymous and will not include personally-identifiable information about the driver or the assailant. Survey participants, in-person or online, will be offered a $25 incentive to complete the information.
Under its contract to FMCSA, Battelle will produce a written report, to be posted on the FMCSA website, as well as a publicly-available dataset for further research.
Follow this link to file your comments with the FMCSA.