Southern Freight Services' director of safety, human resources and recruiting, Kelsey Wolfe, was awarded Heavy Duty Trucking’s 2016 Safety & Compliance Award during a ceremony on July 19 at the Fleet Safety Conference.
The award highlights candidates who have enhanced the safety of their companies and employees through leadership, innovation and measurable results. Nominees were evaluated by a panel of industry leaders to determine the winner of the award, which was presented at the Fleet Safety Conference in Schaumburg, Ill.
Wolfe personally created each of the safety policies at the Morristown, Tenn.-based carrier and is also responsible for recruiting, hiring and training.
The company saw a crash frequency rate of 1.61 in 2014 and dropped it to 0.89 last year.
"We have improved as a whole from 2014 to 2015," Wolfe said in her application. "We are selective regarding experience, work history, prior driving mishaps, and are very selective about who we bring on board. Safety at Southern Freight is priority, and we want to
be sure that we know our team is knowledgeable and trained to handle situations that arise while on the road. Orientation has been tweaked to meet our needs, more training has been offered, and we have programs/policies set in place to ensure the safety of not only our team, but everyone sharing the road with our trucks."
Policies that she created included the Required Road Test and Certification policy, Drug and Alcohol Free Workplace Standards, the SFS Driver Agreement with rules on attitude and professionalism, as well as a strictly enforced cell phone policy and several others.
The cell phone policy calls for no texting, no talking, and hands-free devices are required before a driver is qualified at SFS. Violation of the policy results in an immediate termination. The same strict adherence is called for in SFS’s compliance with federal and state regulations as well as the drug and alcohol policy.
Under her supervision, vehicles undergo standard post trip inspections, checks and scheduled maintenance as well as tire checks and washings. All writeups are completed and signed off on, then turned into Wolfe for review.
The company has seen its CSA performance improve and has been recognized by customers and brokers for service and safety. SFS placed first for fleet safety in the Tennessee Trucking Association's competition for fleets running 0-3 million miles in 2015 and has been named a preferred carrier by Eastman Chemical for two straight years.
“I never really expected to get into trucking," Wolfe said. "My sisters have always been my role models. .They worked for my dad in trucking for many years and when he retired from trucking in 2011 I never expected him to get back in it. Then he started our company in March 2012 with five trucks. We now are at 48. Having him to look up to has given me a lot of opportunities that many people getting into trucking probably wouldn’t have.”
The Fleet Safety Conference is currently under way at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel. For more information on the Fleet Safety Conference, visit the website.