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Rocha Transportation Named a Grand Prize Winner in TCA’s 36th Annual National Fleet Safety Awards
3/7/2012

Company spares no expense when it comes to improving safety

Kissimmee, Florida: 

Photo:  Patrick Kuehl and Corrie TosteThe Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) is pleased to name Rocha Transportation of Ceres, California, as a grand prize winner in the 36th annual National Fleet Safety Awards, sponsored by Great West Casualty Company. The company won for the category of truckload companies with a total annual mileage of less than 25 million miles.

TCA presented the award to Corrie Toste, corporate secretary, at the Annual Awards Banquet held March 6, 2012, at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Florida. The company will be recognized a second time during TCA’s upcoming Safety & Security Division Annual Meeting, to be held May 20-22, 2012, at the Embassy Suites Norman - Hotel & Conference Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

“Success in the trucking industry stems from safety, and Rocha Transportation is living proof of this,” said Chris Burruss, TCA’s president. “The carrier has demonstrated excellence in all aspects of a superior safety program, from its hiring procedures, to safety incentives, to the way it inspects and maintains equipment. We’re pleased that our National Fleet Safety Awards can help to highlight the accomplishments of this outstanding fleet!”

Rocha Transportation has put much time and effort into devising its current safety program. The annual plan is updated quarterly and details all safety-related goals and objectives, names of responsible parties, and task completion dates. To evaluate the effectiveness of the program, management studies the company’s accident frequency ratios, average claim amounts, insurance premiums, and other safety statistics. Everyone, including each driver, is made aware of the costs of accidents and how each accident affects the entire operation.

Rocha’s management does not hesitate to spend money if it will improve and enhance the program. Funds have been budgeted for a $100,000+ driver training simulator, which manufacturers have said is unprecedented for a company of Rocha’s size. Last year, the company trained or retrained all of its drivers in defensive driving techniques. Another major expenditure is a Safety Celebration event held annually at a local amusement park, which provides an opportunity to congratulate each safe employee and remind everyone that such activities are only possible because of each driver’s commitment to safe operating practices.

When searching for new drivers, Rocha looks for “team players.” Prospective drivers must demonstrate that they are willing to be accountable for their actions and can learn from their mistakes. “Teflon people, or those who have a ready excuse for everything and [for whom] nothing sticks, need not apply here,” says the company. Once hired, drivers are thoroughly trained and equipped with the tools that can help them meet company expectations. A newly implemented “dash-boarding” process allows Rocha to identify driver productivity, efficiency, and profitability. Management will soon begin meeting with each driver twice per year to review dash-board results; additional training will be provided as necessary.

Another notable aspect of the company’s safety program is its management philosophy, which treats all employees as equals. The company does not believe in hierarchies. “We check our egos at the door. We understand that success comes in “cans” – we know it can be done and also know it can be done better. We are a work in progress,” it wrote in its Award application.

At TCA’s Annual Awards Banquet, Bison Transport of Winnipeg, Manitoba, joined Rocha Transportation on the stage. Bison won TCA’s other grand prize in the category for truckload companies with a total annual mileage of 25 million or more miles. Both Rocha and Bison were selected from among 18 division winners (determined by accident frequency only) that were previously announced in January. During the grand prize 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 in the contest, all grand prize finalists were audited by independent auditors not affiliated with TCA or the carrier.


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