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Bison Transport Earns a Grand Prize in Truckload Carriers Association’s 36th Annual National Fleet Safety Awards

Company’s outstanding safety record is result of careful attention to detail and company-wide commitment

Kissimmee, Florida:

Photo:  Patrick Kuehl and Rob PennerLast night, Bison Transport of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was named a grand prize winner in the Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) prestigious 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 25 million or more miles.

TCA presented the 36th annual award to Rob Penner, vice president, 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.

“Bison Transport’s safety program is extensive. It proves that safety and profitability can—and do—go hand-in-hand,” said Chris Burruss, TCA’s president. “Bison’s management has thought out every detail, keeping what works and improving what doesn’t. Clearly, the results speak for themselves.”

For several years, the essence of Bison Transport’s safety program has been captured in its mantra, “You’re Safe With Me.” This year, the theme was expanded for an internal campaign, “You’re Safe With Me Because…,” which constantly reminds employees of the company’s safety values and raises awareness about the importance of their actions. At Bison Transport, everyone is held accountable, from management to drivers, and each member of the team is expected to share the company’s safety priorities.

In exchange, Bison Transport provides its people with the best possible compensation and tools to foster a safe working environment. For example, drivers receive interactive, customized training that is tailored to their specific equipment and experience level. New drivers in training receive a salary rather than payment by the mile so they can focus on learning safe practices rather than worrying about meeting a specific mileage goal. Drivers who are safe on the roads are given numerous incentives to stay that way; in fact, Bison spends more than 30% of its actual accident costs to reward and encourage its drivers.

When it comes to maintenance, Bison’s detailed computer program tracks every piece of equipment, whether owned, leased, rented, or exchanged with another carrier. It alerts technicians when repairs, service, or inspections are due, so company equipment is always in excellent working condition and drivers experience few on-road breakdowns. Owner operators must provide monthly maintenance reports showing what work was performed on their vehicle, and Bison technicians can request their own inspection if they feel it is warranted.

Bison Transport’s safety strategy appears to be paying off. It holds the highest safety rating available from the U.S. Department of Transportation. As safety increased, accident costs decreased 32% in 2010 and an additional 17% in 2011. The company enjoys a high driver retention rate of 73% and for a third time has been named a TCA Best Fleet to Drive For, an honor that stems from driver nominations and general overall satisfaction with a carrier.

According to Bison Transport’s grand prize application, “Being the safest fleet in North America is not the goal… it is an outcome. The goal is that each of our people makes it home safely to their families every single time. Our culture is evident throughout our business. We don’t just talk about [safety], we live it!”

At TCA’s Annual Awards Banquet, Rocha Transportation of Ceres, California, joined Bison Transport on the stage. Rocha won TCA’s other grand prize in the category for truckload companies with a total annual mileage of less than 25 million miles. Both Bison and Rocha 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.