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Roehl Transport, Inc. Wins One of Two Grand Prizes in Truckload Carriers Association’s 33rd Annual National Fleet Safety Awards
The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) is pleased to announce that Roehl Transport, Inc., of Marshfield, Wisconsin, has been named the grand prize winner of its highly coveted 33rd Annual National Fleet Safety Awards for the category of truckload companies with a total annual mileage over 25 million miles.
TCA presented the award to Rick Roehl, president and COO, for Roehl Transport, Inc., at the Annual Banquet and Awards Dinner held March 10, 2009, at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, Florida. Roehl will be recognized a second time during TCA’s 2009 Safety & Security Division Annual Meeting, May 17 – 19, 2009, in Louisville, Kentucky.
The other grand prize winner, Rocha Transportation of Modesto, California, won in the category for truckload companies with a total annual mileage under 25 million miles.
The two grand prize winners were selected from among 18 division winners in the National Fleet Safety Division Awards announced in January. In order to be granted the prestigious grand prize, both companies had to demonstrate that they strive to meet stringent standards in their overall safety programs, on and off the highway, and were judged to be the best in their commitment to improving safety on our nation's highways.
Roehl Transport doesn’t feel that safety “program” adequately describes its company’s commitment to safety. Instead, it has successfully built a safety “culture” – the moral beliefs and customs of a group. Roehl’s safety culture is built around safety as every employee’s deepest value. A “value,” as described in Roehl’s award application, is a “deeply held belief beyond compromise... that doesn’t change based on the circumstances of the moment.” Thus regardless of the priorities that might arise during a given truck driver’s day (perhaps a hot load that must be delivered or an impending snowstorm that is bearing down on the driver’s location), safety must always trump all.
While many trucking companies provide “defensive driving” courses to their drivers, Roehl’s driving system, called “The Roehl Way,” is billed as “protective driving.” “To drive defensively imparts an ‘Us versus Them’ mentality, with the focus on not allowing ‘them’ to harm us. Protective driving, on the other hand, is a team philosophy where each driver accepts responsibility for others who share the highway. … We see it as an opportunity to protect the welfare of the others – who in the end are our own family, friends and loved ones,” writes the company. “We put the lives and safety of people first, before dollars, or time schedules, or whose fault it was.”
"The Roehl Way” protective driving course is attended by both drivers and non-driving staff so they can interact and receive the same consistent message. The beginning of the course provides a highly interactive focus on the “ethics” of the professional driver, which gives participants the ability to draw their own conclusions about values and holding safety as a personal value. The rest of the course asks participants to identify what safe driving behaviors are essential for a person to be considered a safe driver. “Because the participants themselves identify the behaviors that constitute safety, they more readily adopt them and understand the necessity of living their value of safety by performing the correct behaviors all the time… in other words, not compromising on safety,” writes the company.
Roehl’s core safety values seem to be paying off for the company, which has been consistently ranked as the safest large carrier (for U.S. miles only) through the Department of Transportation’s SafeStat reporting system.
The judging process for TCA’s National Fleet Safety Awards began with the determination of the top companies in each of six mileage divisions. The division winners 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, including general highway safety. In an effort to ensure the highest level of integrity to the contest, all grand prize finalists were audited by independent auditors not affiliated with TCA or the carrier.
“This year’s winners truly embody the spirit of this award, which is to recognize the safest fleets on the road. Safety doesn’t just happen by chance — it takes a lot of advance planning and hard work. Rocha Transportation and Roehl Transport have worked very hard to achieve their grand prize winner status, and TCA happily recognizes and celebrates this,” said Chris Burruss, TCA’s president.