At Crete Carrier, Shaffer Trucking and Hunt Transportation, Safety Is A Culture

Every successful fleet needs to maintain and enforce a comprehensive safety policy, but for a good fleet to rise to the top amongst its competitors, safety must go beyond the policy level. At Crete Carrier, Shaffer Trucking, and Hunt Transportation, safety is more than just an obligatory policy, it’s an integral part of the company culture.

“We stress safety first and foremost,” says Crete’s President and CEO, Tonn Ostergard. “We never push productivity at the cost of the safety of our people, or those with whom we share the road.”

Crete’s Vice President of Safety, Ray Coulter, recently explained how the FMCSA’s CSA2010 safety evaluation program reinforces the company’s existing safety culture.

Question – What are the key elements of the safety strategy at Crete Carrier Corporation?

Ray Coulter – First, we hire the right drivers with a proven safety record, over the road experience, and a stable job history. We also utilize pre-employment screening process reports from the CSA2010 program. With an average age of 49, many of our drivers stay with Crete for several decades. This helps keep our annual turnover rate to approximately 35%, making a stable work population the key element of our safety strategy.

Question – What does the CSA2010 program mean to Crete Carrier Corporation?

Ray Coulter – As a carrier, we’ve found CSA2010 to be a very useful tool. We can plot trends in the seven BASICs (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories), and provide training on the specific issues that are found to have a higher frequency rate at DOT inspections and in reportable accidents.

Question – What added CSA2010 training have you provided for your drivers?

Ray Coulter – All of our new and existing drivers have been educated on the seven BASIC categories of the CSA2010 program. We have emphasized the need for thorough pre-trip inspections, and we’ve reemphasized the driver’s need to maintain a proper diet and get proper rest.

Question – Leading up to implementation of CSA2010, how did Crete use the available tools to determine a baseline score?

Ray Coulter – Crete has utilized an internal scoring system to evaluate and manage our safety priorities for many years. We were fortunate that our system of collecting the data on crashes, citations, inspections and MVR activity somewhat mirrored the criteria established by the FMCSA. The additional data provided by CSA complimented our existing system well.

Question – How does Crete’s CSA2010 score rank amongst its competitors?

Ray Coulter – Our scores are currently among the top two or three of the leading 25 truckload carriers in the United States. We have 5,000 drivers, and are focused on maintaining and hopefully improving our scores.

Question – To what elements of Crete’s safety strategy do you attribute that favorable score?

Ray Coulter – I attribute our fortunate position to the commitment to all the members of the Crete Carrier, Shaffer Trucking, and Hunt Transportation team, and most importantly, to the stability of our professional driver base. Several years ago, our company developed a list of what we consider to be the seven guiding principles of our organization – the leading principle is Safety First and Foremost, and this philosophy is reflected in all areas of our company.

Question – What strategies have been developed to maintain your CSA2010 score?

Ray Coulter – We work with a provider who supplies us with both current scoring information and our projected CSA2010 scores. This allows us to proactively educate our drivers and develop training modules and interventions to strengthen our CSA2010 score. We intend to use FMCSA database as a tool to help determine safety improvement priorities.

Question – Do you have any driver incentive programs in place to help maintain the positive CSA2010 scores?

Ray Coulter – One of the programs we already had in place prior to 2010, is that anytime one of our drivers accomplishes a roadside inspection in which there are no violations written, we give them an immediate monetary award, and credit points on our internal scoring system. Additionally, a driver may be eligible for pay increases if they maintain a satisfactory safety score.