So, How Do They Do It?

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Mark Seymour, president of Kriska Transportation, said the best way to implement a safety program is to ask around and borrow best practices from other carriers. To that end, each of the companies represented on the panel made their safety reps available to comment on specific technologies they are using as part of their broader safety program.

Jeff Lehmann, manager, safety and compliance with MacKinnon Transport, said his company is now using e-logs to improve fleet productivity and eliminate logbook falsifications. At the time of his presentation, half of MacKinnon’s company trucks were using e-logs and the company intended to roll the program out to its owner/ operators as well.

MacKinnon uses the PeopleNet e-log system, which ties into its existing satellite tracking program, Lehmann explained. Most of the drivers have welcomed the change, he noted. They save at least 20 minutes per driving shift by not having to fill in a paper logbook and they don’t have to wor- ry about being out of compliance when they cross the scales. So far, inspectors have been supportive. In some cases they’ll climb up and view the hours-of-service status on the in-cab display. Other times, they’ll require dispatch to fax the data to the scale house, he said.

The PeopleNet system stores the records for six months and drivers can print out their logs for tax purposes. MacKinnon has placed a computer and printer in the driver’s room to make this easy and convenient, Lehmann noted. He said drivers using e-logs are more productive than before making the switch. He also said the move has major implications for MacKinnon from a liability standpoint, since the company is now assured its drivers are compliant at all times.

Tom Boehler, director of safety and compliance with Erb Transport, relayed how Erb has used e-learning to communicate safety messages to drivers who are unable to attend safety meetings. Erb still encourages drivers to attend the meetings in person, but if they’re on the road, drivers can now catch up by attending the meeting over the Internet at their own convenience. They must complete a test before receiving credit for attending.

The program, which was developed exclusively for Erb by Digital North Media, cost $16,000 to set up. However, it was “a small cost compared to adding more safety trainers just to do meetings,” Boehler added.

The system also builds an archive of past safety meetings, so drivers can go back and revisit any topics that were covered in the past.

Glen Perkins, Kriska Transportation’s director of safety and compliance, addressed his company’s use of speed control. Using Shaw Tracking’s SensorTracs, Kriska monitors the speed of its vehicles as well as: RPM; fuel mileage; idle-time and hard brake applications. If a truck is over the 65 mph limit for two minutes, a notification is sent to management.

Bison Transport director of safety and recruiting, Garth Pitzel, spoke about his company’s Driver Safety Toolbox. Bison’s three-pronged approach to safety includes: providing drivers with safe equipment; working with drivers on skill development; and empowering drivers to park the truck when conditions warrant, through a “right-to-decide” policy.

Bison is an early adopter of safety technology, such as the Eaton Vorad collision avoidance system which Pitzel said has proven to reduce accidents by 53%. Bison also has a ‘seven second rule,’ which encourages drivers to leave seven seconds of space between themselves and the vehicle in front of them.

Drivers take part in a course on the subject, to learn exactly how much space a truck can cover in seven seconds. Pitzel said the program has resulted in a reduction of rear-end accidents.

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