Safety. It’s without a doubt the top concern for all Daseke sister companies and the 2,600 truck drivers who haul loads for Daseke customers.
“We want our people to be safe, and we want the motoring public to be safe – we work hard to make sure that happens at each of our companies,” said Don Daseke, President and CEO of Daseke Inc. “We have twice monthly safety meetings with our sister companies to discuss safety issues – every safety director wants to share what works and offer ways to improve in this vital area of trucking.
With that in mind, everyone in the organization was thrilled when WTI Transport placed first in the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Safety Contest. It cemented our belief that safety pays and it was wonderful to be recognized.”
Announced at the fall ATA meeting in Orlando, Jem Blair, WTI’s VP of Safety, was on hand to accept the award in the ‘over 10 million mile flatbed/line-haul’ division. WTI Transport, which operates 400 tractors, ran more than 42 million miles in 2013. The company is on pace to run 50 million miles in 2014.
“It was an honor to accept the award for WTI in front of my peers,” said Blair, who has been dedicated to fleet safety for 26 years. “More than 200 companies had entered their safety records — we’re all competitors, but at the end of the day, we’re all dedicated to safety. I was excited to take the plaque and recognition home to share with our staff – and more importantly, with our drivers, who share our passion for customer service and safety.”
According to Blair, in addition to being the nation’s safest open-deck carrier, WTI Transport has an on-time delivery rate that is hard to beat. “Our rate is pegged at 98.6 percent,” he said. “Being safe and on-time are key metrics for us, and we know they’re important to our customers as well.”
With an accident rate of 0.31 per million miles, WTI won the award by a wide margin. “The second place company had a rate of 0.44 and the national average for truck accidents in the flatbed segment is 0.54 per million miles,” said Blair.
“It’s the lowest accident rate we’ve ever had at WTI, and it shows that the investment we’ve made in technology, maintenance and people is paying off. First, we run late-model equipment and are utilizing the Bendix Wingman system for lane departure awareness. And, our trucks leave the yard ready for work – our maintenance programs are meticulous and our drivers are trained to the importance of thorough pre-trip and post-trip inspections. With the information they provide, we’re able to stay on top of any maintenance or service issues.”
According to Blair, driver training is something he and WTI Transport are also very passionate about. “It’s critical, and the first step is getting the right candidate to begin with,” he said.
“Hauling in open-deck is physically the most demanding driving job out there. Our candidates must pass the D.O.T. physical, plus our own agility testing. We then have a week of orientation, coupled with two days of training on load securement. We stress safety in handling loads as well – in our training area our drivers are tethered to overhead lines as they practice tie-downs and securement. We know that falls from a trailer can happen – especially in the winter when snow and ice create difficult environments. We do all we can to help drivers train for tough conditions.”
Blair said that work has paid off as well. “We also received second place in ATA’s National Industrial Award category for workers’ comp,” said Blair. “That too was quite an honor.”
Going forward, Blair said WTI is not content to rest on its laurels.
“While winning ATA’s top safety award was a major milestone for the company, it was just that. We can never be satisfied, and it’s why our ‘best-practice’ safety meetings — with safety directors from our Daseke sister companies — are so important. Through these meetings, we share ideas and ways to further improve our CSA scores and overall safety records. We have some of the best safety minds in the country, all working together to the benefit of our team members and our customers.”