Safety-centric company cultures and outstanding performance records earned Roehl Transport and Stagecoach Cartage and Distribution the 2011 Volvo Trucks Safety Award.

The awards were announced at the American Trucking Associations Management Conference & Exhibition in Dallas, Texas.

For three consecutive years, Volvo Trucks has sought out the safest fleets in North America, recognizing their hard work and dedication with the Volvo Trucks Safety Award. Volvo was again joined this year by Michelin America Truck Tires as a supporting sponsor of the award. Each winning fleet took home $25,000 to use in its safety efforts.

"Safety is not accidental," said Ron Huibers, Volvo Trucks senior vice president, sales and marketing. "Safety has long been a core value at Volvo. But it takes more than a well-designed truck to be a safe fleet."

At the beginning of 2011, Volvo Trucks invited all U.S. and Canadian fleets with more than five Class 8 trucks to apply for the annual awards (at least one must have been a Volvo). The awards are given in two categories, one for fleets with less than 20 million miles of annual operation and the other for those with more than 20 million miles. Fleets were ranked by their accident frequency rates, using the U.S. Department of Transportation definition of a "recordable accident," as well as their accident prevention programs.

Criteria, Huibers said, included a total commitment to safety throughout the entire company; investment in drivers, and focus on prevention.

Roehl Transport of Marshfield, Wis., won the Volvo Trucks Safety Award in the over 20 million mile category. A family-owned diversified truckload carrier for nearly 50 years, Roehl operates approximately 1,800 trucks, and in 2010 had an accident frequency rate of just .295 during their more than 172.6 million miles of operation.

Roehl distinguishes between "priorities" and "values." Priorities can change depending on circumstances. Values are enduring and guide daily behaviors. Safety is Roehl's "cornerstone" value.

All employees, even non-drivers, are required to go through The Roehl Way of Driving program. The interactive classes stress the need to not only avoid accidents, but proactively protect all motorists sharing the highways with them.

"For us, safety is a deeply held belief beyond compromise," said Rick Roehl, president of Roehl Transport. "We truly are engaged in protective driving."

Stagecoach Cartage and Distribution of El Paso, Texas, won the Volvo Trucks Safety Award in the under 20 million mile category. Stagecoach provides a full range of transportation and warehousing services, including over-the-road, regional and local transportation, and intermodal drayage. Its fleet of 162 trucks logged more than 16.3 million miles in 2010 and posted an impressive .122 accident frequency rate.

Stagecoach equips its trucks with a range of safety technologies. An advanced training simulator gives drivers the opportunity to hone their skills, practice difficult maneuvers and evaluate their responses in a safe environment.

"We've integrated safety into everything we do," Stagecoach president Scott McLaughlin said. "We don't just talk or write about safety. We back up our commitment with investment."