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Fantasy Football Parallels Driver Selection

What can you learn about driver selection and CSA from fantasy football?

Millions of fans are gearing up for the fantasy football season.  The smart ones know how to draft the best fantasy players and they win.  Aaron Rodgers or Mark Sanchez?  Adrian Peterson or Danny Woodhead?  Okay, it’s not that easy.  But fans who have an efficient, systematic way to rate and track players come out on top.  They keep up-to-date and adjust their rosters after injuries.

"I wonder if this will work for driver selection."

"I wonder if this will work for driver selection."

Fantasy football is a big deal.  About 32 million people play for fun and bragging rights, and plenty play for some serious money.  There are elements of chance like brutal weather or a bad bounce of the ball. And officials are huge. Some call holding more often. Pass interference is subject to interpretation and instant reviews produce bewildering results.  That gets us to CSA.  CSA also has elements of chance that are clearly bewildering.

Imagine a Driver Selection League

Imagine that you want to set up a fantasy league in your company and draft drivers based on CSA scores. We’ll call the league Fantasy DOTball in honor of the Department of Transportation.  Everyone gets to draft their own team: the owner and the heads of every department, your Team General Managers (TGMs).  Once driver selection is complete, the fantasy games can begin.

Picture the Accounting Argonauts versus the Safety Saints and the team with the lowest accumulated CSA points wins.  Since there’s more than 800 possible violations, the game will never get dull.  Scores can come from the data provided by JB Hunt.

So, what criteria should you use to select the drivers for your fantasy team?  You’ll probably look at each driver’s track record.  Veteran drivers without points will get gobbled up first. Next would be those with very few points. If you’re analytical, you might even look at what types of points the drivers have, like speeding versus placard violations.

If you’re really good, you might choose your drivers by certain lanes. That’s because law enforcement officials in different states have different interpretations of the calls, just like football referees, but worse.  In some states, there’s not much inspecting going on. Run there and you won’t get a bad score.  In other states, the officials clothesline drivers with certain violations like speeding in Indiana or maintenance in Texas.  Check out this webinar discussion detailing the disparity.  It will make you crazy. 

Rookie drivers are a wild card.  How do you predict how they’ll perform on your team?  You need a proxy measure.  In sports it could be their speed on the forty yard dash, or their brute size for a lineman’s position.  But in trucking it’s harder to measure.

It's Real and Already Here

If this all sounds too far-fetched, guess what?  You’re already playing the driver selection fantasy CSA game. You’ve already drafted your team. You can add players, cut players or put them on injured reserve (worker’s compensation).  Meanwhile, your government will do all the scoring for you.  You’re in the game and serious money is at stake.

Do you pick your real drivers as well as you might draft fantasy players?  How much consideration do you give to their past record?  What are your criteria?  Minimum standards dictated by FMCSA? If so, you aren’t headed to the Superbowl any time soon.

Do you have an efficient, systematic way to assess and track applicants?  Do you screen for safety-related behaviors?  Remember, they’re different from CSA indicators.  Dozens of studies have shown that accidents don’t correlate well with CSA BASICs.  In the real world, accidents are caused by driver behavior as your insurance company will attest.  You won’t get a winning team, unless you draft winners.

There are ways to make more informed hiring decisions and get better players on your team.  Sure, background checks, PSP reports and MVRs are all important, but let’s face it, they’re minimums.  You need more data and a deeper understanding of who your recruits really are.  You need predictive pre-employment assessments and structured interviews.  Take advantage of these techniques, or you may put a losing team on the road.

Fantasy or not, you want winners and drivers want to work for a winner.  Select the right ones for your culture and team and you both win.  With a bad driver draft, you might end up with the mind-blowing truck driver equivalent of JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf or Art Schlichter.  That’s no way to win the game.

Mark G. Gardner
Chief Executive Officer
Avatar Management Services, Inc
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