"Food City and Bison Transport represent extraordinary ongoing achievements in the safe operation of trucks," said Scott Kress, Volvo's senior vice president - sales & marketing. "Both of these companies have taken the concept of safety and made it the foundation of their fleets. They have focused significant resources and talent on recruitment, training, maintenance and equipment."
"The end result is that these companies year after year have outstanding safety records and are role models for others in the industry," Kress said. "Volvo is honored to recognize these companies and their employees, and to share our passion for safety."
At the beginning of 2009, Volvo Trucks invited all U.S. and Canadian fleets with more than five units to apply for the awards. The awards are given in two categories, one for fleets with less than 10 million miles of annual operation and the other for those with more than 10 million miles. Fleets were ranked by their accident frequency rates for 2008, using the U.S. Department of Transportation definition of a "recordable accident," as well as their accident prevention programs. The accident frequency rates accounted for the major portion of each fleet's ranking.
Food City, Abingdon, Va., won the award for the under 10 million mile category with a remarkable zero recordable accidents in 2008 during 7.9 million miles of driving. The fleet serves 105 supermarkets in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. The fleet has 75 tractors and 129 drivers with a combined 1,193 years of safe driving, according to Food City.
"Safety to us is truly accident prevention," according to Jesse Lewis, Food City senior vice president and chief operating officer. "It's providing a safe workplace, it's providing a fleet that gives our drivers the very best to operate, the safest vehicle we can possibly put them in. We feel what we invest in accident prevention gives us a tremendous return on that investment. The image of safe driving with our consumer is extremely important to us."
Food City emphasizes hiring the best and most experienced drivers it can find, all of whom have excellent driving records. The company then gives them incentives and rewards for continued safe driving.
Bison Transport, Winnipeg, Manitoba, won the over 10 million mile category with a rate of 0.19209 accidents per million miles travelled. Bison has 1,050 tractors, 1,400 drivers and handles approximately 3,200 shipments per week across the U.S. and Canada.
"Bison has an intense focus on safety," said Don Streuber, Bison Transport president and CEO. Bison's safety equation includes a "driver's toolbox" that encompasses the selection of safe equipment, a safe working environment, in-depth training and the systems of accountability "so that we don't lose sight that safety is in fact a priority," according to Streuber.
"We've had a wonderful working relationship with Volvo … ensuring that their care and concern for safety matches our care and concern for safety," Streuber said.
Bison's training includes ongoing training for experienced drivers as well as new hires, using 15 separate courses and four driving simulators. The company also performs risk assessments on each driver and uses targeted training to improve those identified as high-risk.
Both Food City and Bison Transport said their drivers are empowered to decide when conditions are unsafe for driving, including weather, traffic or other factors.
Bison Transport and Food City officials explain their companies' approach to fleet safety in a video here: http://220.127.116.11/video/trucks/safetyawards.wmv