PMTC honours safest private fleets, former president

KING CITY, Ont. — John Deere and Home Hardware Stores were recognized this evening for having the safest private fleets in Canada.

The Private Fleet Safety Awards were presented by the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada and MEE, a division of ISB Canada, during the PMTC’s annual conference. The competition was open to all Canadian private carriers.

Fleets are judged on their overall safety regime and over-the-road record. John Deere won the mid-sized fleet category while Home Hardware took top honours among large fleets.

“Along with MEE, we at the PMTC congratulate the management and drivers of these fleets,” PMTC president Mike Millian said. “The efforts of everyone involved with these fleets, and many others in the PMTC membership, points to their desire to keep road safety foremost in their operations. All the 2015 award winners deserve our congratulations.”

John Deere has operated a private fleet in Canada for more than 39 years. It runs 53 power units and 145 trailers and accumulates 11 million kilometres per year. It has 71 drivers, supplied by employment agency Huron Services.

The company has a written safety policy that is updated annually, according to the PMTC. New hires undergo checks into their prior experience, education, CVORs and references.

They must have three years’ verifiable driving experience and take a drug test as well as a road test.

Before being turned loose, they receive two days of in-house training on company procedures, product handling and safety practices. John Deere uses electronic logs and uses on-board computers to monitor driver speed and compliance.

A “broad-based” safety awards program is available for drivers. The fleet has a CVOR violation rate of only 0.5%. This marks the third time John Deere was won a PMTC Fleet Safety Award.

Accepting the award for John Deere was John Van Geest, manager of Canadian logistics and fleet services.

Home Hardware employs 120 professional drivers to operate its fleet of 129 tractors and 510 trailers. They cover about 17.5 million kilometres.

New drivers undergo an extensive hiring process and two pre-employment interviews as well as a road test. They also receive three days of in-class orientation followed by loading dock training and a minimum of three days on the road accompanied by a driver coach.

A formal review process is undertaken after three months – all before the driver is offered full-time employment.

Home Hardware has annual driver safety meetings and ongoing training throughout the year. It also encourages drivers to compete in regional and provincial truck driving championships.

Drivers can earn safe driving bonuses and a profit-sharing bonus. Home Hardware’s CVOR violation rating is 13.8%. And it’s no stranger to the award, having won it five times now.

Accepting the award on behalf of Home Hardware were Dennis Shantz, director fleet services and Joe Ament, corporate CSA/CSMS coordinator.

In a surprise announcement, PMTC president Mike Millian announced a new award. The first-ever PMTC President’s Award was presented to former association president Bruce Richards, who stepped aside earlier this year after 21 years in that role.

“We could not find a more deserving first-time recipient of the PMTC President’s award,” Millian said.

Richards thanked the people who supported him throughout his career, particularly PMTC members and Vanessa Cox, head of member services.

“I’m grateful to have been considered for this award and extremely proud to be the first recipient,” he said. “It means a lot to me.”

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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