Trucking fleets in Arkansas have a new resource for improving their safety programs with the Arkansas Trucking Association's new director of safety services.
The Arkansas Highway Commission awarded the association with funds from the Arkansas Commerical Truck Safety and Education Program (ACTSEP) $368,000 over two years to fund this position.
O'Neal will be a safety and regulatory resource for trucking companies across the state (not just ATA members), a liaison with governmental bodies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and public ambassador for the industry. He will also spearhead the 'Share the Road' and 'Arkansas Road Team' programs.
A native Arkansan, O'Neal joins ATA after a 19 year career at FedEx, serving most recently as the Managing Director of Safety at FedEx Ground in Pittsburgh, Pa. During his tenure, FedEx Ground was awarded the American Trucking Associations' President's Safety Trophy.
Shannon Newton, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association, told ArkansasOnline.com in the article State Trucking Group Plans to Raise the Bar on Safety, "I think that in order for our industry to be perceived in a way we desire it to be, safety is such a core component of that," estimating that about half of the nation's state trucking associations have similar positions. "Fundamentally, if we don't deliver freight safely it's a failure. We can talk about infrastructure and regulatory compliance and all that stuff. All that is important. But if we're not safe, nobody cares. So it's important to demonstrate our industry is committed to safety."
The article also reports that O'Neal recently outlined his job duties during the association's safety management council meeting, telling the group he planned to "raise the bar for safety" because it would have a "ripple effect for the industry as a whole."