FMCSA announces plans to study violence against truckers

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Updated Jul 28, 2019

The recent headlines are often as distressing as they are frequent:

Truck driver shot, killed in Gaston parking lot

Truck driver shot on 31st Avenue North in Birmingham

Amazon driver’s truck hit by bullet in Poplar Avenue road rage shooting

Yet, there are scant few statistics available on the topic of violence against truckers, including and especially if those drivers happen to be women or minorities, but that could change.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration today announced it plans to study what it calls the “prevalence, seriousness, and nature of the problem of harassment and assaults against minority and female truckers.” The study was announced today in the Federal Register.

In the posting, the FMCSA says it has evidence of  “a serious pattern of harassment- and assault-related crimes against female and minority male truckers.”

It adds:

“Currently, FMCSA does not provide materials or training to truckers, including minority and female truckers, on how to protect themselves from being stalked, harassed, assaulted, or robbed. Before effective solutions for preventing or reducing these crimes against female and minority truckers can be developed and implemented, FMCSA must understand the prevalence, seriousness, and nature of the problem of harassment and assaults against truckers. Currently, there is insufficient data. The frequency and number of harassment- and assault-related crimes occurring, the portion that are unreported, and reasons for underreporting are unknown.”

In the Federal Register posting, FMCSA said it needs to “explore and validate the problem of harassment- and assault-related crimes, especially against female and minority male truckers for two reasons. First, there seems to be a perception among these subpopulations of truckers that they are more vulnerable than others. Second, there is a critical shortage of truckers, and helping these subpopulations of truckers protect themselves from crimes could draw more truckers from these subpopulations, while stemming turnover, to alleviate the shortage.”

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The agency seeks 440 minority males and 440 females who will be surveyed. Some 80 men and 80 women will be interviewed in person; others will complete an online survey. A $25 incentive will be offered to qualified participants, according to the FMCSA. To be eligible, respondents must report that they are a female or a minority male who has driven a truck professionally in the past two years.

FMCSA said the anonymous survey asks whether the drivers have experienced race or gender-related harassment or crimes on the job. If the driver has had such an experience, the survey will ask follow-up questions on where and when the incidents occurred, any information the respondent knows about the perpetrator, and whether the respondent reported the incident.