Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution, LP and Bison Transport Win Grand Prizes in TCA’s 32nd Annual National Fleet Safety Awards


Paradise Island, The Bahamas:

Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) is pleased to announce the grand prize winners of its highly coveted 32nd Annual National Fleet Safety Awards: Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution, LP of El Paso, Texas, won the award for truckload companies with a total annual mileage of less than 25 million miles, and Bison Transport of Winnipeg, Manitoba, won in the category for truckload companies with a total annual mileage of more than 25 million miles.

TCA presented the awards to Jay Blobner, director of safety for Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution, LP, and Rob Penner, vice president, operations, for Bison Transport, at its Annual Banquet held March 3, 2008, at The Atlantis Resort in The Bahamas.

The two grand prize winners were selected from among 18 division winners in the National Fleet Safety Division Awards announced in January. Both companies strive to meet stringent standards in their overall safety programs, on and off the highway, and were judged to be the best in their commitments to improving safety on our nation’s highways.

For Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution, the basis of an outstanding safety program begins with major investments in technology. The company has incorporated the latest technology into its vehicles, allowing it to track things such as the maximum speed of the truck, idle time, hard braking, lane departures, and tire pressure. Using this information, it can, for example, spot a driver who is following other vehicles too closely and work with him to change the unsafe habit. Speeding is another issue that is tracked closely; drivers are warned twice and then terminated if three speeding incidents are detected.

Stagecoach believes that a healthy driver has a much better chance of being a safe driver, so health is a major concern for the company’s management. Employees receive fruit every morning for breakfast and are reimbursed for membership in a fitness facility if they choose to participate. The company recently held a Fitness Challenge, paying everyone who entered $10 for each pound of weight lost. It also hosts a driver fatigue (sleep apnea) program and a smoking cessation program.

Another tenant of Stagecoach’s safety program is its attention to the driver’s needs. “A driver who feels that he has no one to turn to if he has issues with other personnel, safety concerns, family issues, etc. is an unhappy driver who may in turn become an unsafe driver,” the company writes in its Grand Prize application. For this reason, Stagecoach mediates numerous meetings between the driver and various company representatives until the conflict is resolved. Stagecoach also utilizes a rigorous driver hiring and training program and orientation system. With a driver turnover rate of only 25%, it is clear that Stagecoach drivers are content with their jobs and thus more likely to make safety a priority in order to keep their jobs.

For Bison Transport, 2007 marks the third consecutive year of winning TCA’s Grand Prize National Safety Award for its mileage category. When it first won in 2005, the carrier had created a “You’re Safe With Me” campaign; this campaign continues today and has been expanded with much success.

A new feature of the 2007 campaign is the development of a Driver Risk Level Assessment, which applies point values for both positive and negative things, such as training a driver has taken, positive DriverCheck reports, moving or log violations, and preventable accidents. When the formula is calculated, it helps Bison identify a driver’s risk level and bring him to an acceptable level of risk before he might be involved in an accident. The tool allows Bison management to replace general fleet training programs with specific programs tailored to the individual driver, at the urgency level required. This results in safer drivers overall.

In its Grand Prize application, Bison Transport writes: “Our philosophy is simple and unwavering. We do what is right! … We are vigilant in the protection of our people, our assets, the cargo our customers entrust us with, our environment and those we share the roads with. We encourage and reward safe driving practices and we remind our people daily of their responsibility, as professionals, to uphold safety.”

The judging process began with the determination of the top companies in each of six mileage 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 such as 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 carriers.

The following companies are the top divisional winners based on low accident frequency per million miles (listed first through third place):

Division I – Under 5 Million Miles
StageLine Express, Inc. of Coopersville, Michigan
Excargo Services, Inc. of Houston, Texas
Rochester Cartage, Inc. of Rochester, Minnesota

Division II – 5-14.99 Million Miles
H.O. Bouchard, Inc. of Hampden, Maine
Stallion Express, Inc. of Beebe, Arkansas
Lydall Transport LTD of Glen Allen, Virginia

Division III – 15-24.99 Million Miles
D & D Sexton, Inc. of Carthage, Missouri
Usher Transport, Inc. of Louisville, Kentucky
Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution, LP of El Paso, Texas

Division IV – 25-49.99 Million Miles
MacKinnon Transport, Inc. of Guelph, Ontario
Erb International of New Hamburg, Ontario
Metropolitan Trucking, Inc. of Maywood, New Jersey

Division V – 50-99.99 Million Miles
Groupe Robert, Inc. of Rougemont, Québec
Carter Express, Inc. of Anderson, Indiana
Koch Companies, Inc. of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Division VI – 100+ Million Miles
Bison Transport of Winnipeg, Manitoba
May Trucking Company of Salem, Oregon
Roehl Transport, Inc. of Marshfield, Wisconsin