KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Bison Transport was named the grand prize winner in the large carrier division at the Truckload Carrriers Association’s coveted National Safety Awards last night.
Erb International and N. Yanke Transfer meanwhile were winners in the 15 to 24.99 million miles category while Groupe Robert (and Bison Transport) won in the 50-99.99 million miles category.
The judging process for TCA’s National Fleet Safety Awards began with the determination of the top companies in each of six mileage-based divisions. The division winners (listed below) were selected based on accident frequency only. The top three winners in each division were then able to compete for the two grand prizes. The grand prize-winning companies were judged on their excellent overall safety programs, both on- and off-highway. During the judging, some of the factors considered included safety program organization, employee driver/independent contractor selection procedures, training, supervision, accident investigation, inspection and maintenance of equipment, and outside activities, including general highway safety. In an effort to ensure the highest level of integrity in the contest, all grand prize finalists were audited by independent auditors not affiliated with TCA or the carrier.
The annual awards, sponsored by Great West Casualty Company, culminated in a banquet at TCA’s convention at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Florida.
Rocha Transportation of Ceres, California, won the award for truckload companies in the small carrier division (total annual mileage of less than 25 million miles) while Bison’s award was for total annual mileage over 25 million miles.
The two grand prize winners were selected from among 18 division winners in the National Fleet Safety Division Awards, announced in January. In order to be granted the prestigious grand prize, both companies had to demonstrate that they strive to meet stringent standards in their overall safety programs, on and off the highway, and were judged to be the best in their commitment to improving safety .
The 36th annual awards were accepted by Rob Penner, vice president for Bison Transport and Corrie Toste, corporate secretary for Rocha Transportation. Another recognition ceremony will take place during TCA’s upcoming Safety & Security Division Annual Meeting, to be held May 20-22, 2012, at the Embassy Suites Norman – Hotel & Conference Center in Norman, Okla.
“Each year, the trucking industry makes great strides toward improving its safety record. It takes companies who are dedicated to trying new technologies and implementing the latest safety strategies—like these grand prize winners—to make that happen,” said Chris Burruss, TCA’s president.
For several years, the essence of Bison Transport’s safety program has been captured in its mantra, “You’re Safe With Me.” This year, the theme was expanded for an internal campaign, “You’re Safe With Me Because…,” which constantly reminds employees of the company’s safety values and raises awareness about the importance of their actions. At Bison Transport, everyone is held accountable, from management to drivers, and each member of the team is expected to share the company’s safety priorities.
Drivers receive interactive, customized training that is tailored to their specific equipment and experience level. New drivers in training receive a salary rather than payment by the mile so they can focus on learning safe practices rather than worrying about meeting a specific mileage goal. Drivers who are safe on the roads are given numerous incentives to stay that way; in fact, Bison spends more than 30% of its actual accident costs to reward and encourage its drivers.
When it comes to maintenance, Bison’s detailed computer program tracks every piece of equipment, whether owned, leased, rented, or exchanged with another carrier. It alerts technicians when repairs, service, or inspections are due, so company equipment is always in excellent working condition and drivers experience few on-road breakdowns. Owner operators must provide monthly maintenance reports showing what work was performed on their vehicle, and Bison technicians can request their own inspection if they feel it is warranted.
Bison Transport’s safety strategy appears to be paying off. It holds the highest safety rating available from the U.S. Department of Transportation. As safety increased, accident costs decreased 32% in 2010 and an additional 17% in 2011. The company enjoys a high driver retention rate of 73% and for a third time has been named a TCA Best Fleet to Drive For, an honor that stems from driver nominations and general overall satisfaction with a carrier.
According to Bison Transport’s grand prize application, “Being the safest fleet in North America is not the goal… it is an outcome. The goal is that each of our people makes it home safely to their families every single time. Our culture is evident throughout our business. We don’t just talk about [safety], we live it!”
Below are the names of the 2011 top divisional winners based on low accident frequency ratios per million miles. Companies are listed according to the order that they placed within each category.
Division I Winners (Less than 5 million miles)
Rocha Transportation, Ceres, California
Art Pape Transfer, Inc., Dubuque, Iowa
Specialty Transport, Inc., Knoxville, Tennessee
Division II Winners (5-14.99 million miles)
Southland Transportation Co., Boonville, North Carolina
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