As North America’s largest truckload motor carrier, Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC (“Swift”) has more than 20,000 employees and tens of thousands of pieces of equipment. As a result, ensuring safety across the business requires dedicated focus and commitment through all levels of the organization. Such devotion to safety has helped the company to thrive since its inception in 1966.
Swift’s complex operations require locating drivers across the North American continent. This geographic disparity makes communication of programs and safety initiatives even more difficult. According to Swift’s Corporate Fleet Safety Leader, Marilyn Bellamy Hatcher, Swift manages to communicate its culture of safety by developing safety campaigns targeted directly at company drivers and owner-operators.
These safety campaigns improve Swift’s safety scores under various metrics measured by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which can have a bearing on how often Swift trucks are inspected. But more importantly, Ms. Hatcher said, being safe saves lives.
Swift conducts safety campaigns focused on severe weather conditions. Swift reinforces to its drivers that safety trumps delivery deadlines. In other words, the driver has discretion to decide when weather conditions are unsafe.
In addition to reinforcing a culture of safety, targeted campaigns supported by Swift’s fleet data helped Swift improve on its safety metrics. One of the key tools used by Swift is PrePass’ INFORM™ Safety software. The software provides quick, clear insights into the factors impacting a fleet’s Inspection Selection System (ISS) score. Specifically, it provides inspection trend data that helps fleets improve safety.
Using INFORM Safety provided Swift with added visibility into the incidence of Department of Transportation (“DOT”) inspections.
An improved ISS score means fewer DOT inspections. One problem area, according to Ms. Hatcher, occurs at the California Highway Patrol (CHP) inspection facility in Banning, CA, along Interstate 10. Trucks are routinely backed up for miles, spilling onto I-10 and blocking the right traffic lane. While seasoned drivers knew about the inspection traffic and pulled into the line, newer drivers would sometimes drive past the line and end up inadvertently bypassing the inspection. This behavior resulted in a higher ISS score and increased CHP inspections. As a result, Swift created a safety video and began sending weekly messages to drivers to decrease the number of drivers facing DOT inspections.
So far, Swift’s efforts have reduced incidents at the Banning facility by about 20%, and across the board by 10%, according to Ms. Hatcher. She also indicated that such driver-targeted campaigns by Swift have resulted in a decline in the company’s score of unsafe driving incidents, recorded in their Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) program records compiled by the FMCSA.
This data-driven approach has no doubt improved Swift’s federal safety scores, Ms. Hatcher said, plus it has paid off in other ways when it comes to other focus areas for Swift’s Safety department.
Before using INFORM, Swift would manually pull safety performance information from the CSA program and then perform the requisite analysis to gauge safety campaign effectiveness. This was a time-consuming process.
Using INFORM Safety saves Swift time, allowing its Safety department to concentrate on improved safety campaigns for drivers, while easily obtaining a snapshot of Swift’s safety scores for quick analysis. This data indicates Swift’s strong points, as well as opportunities for improvement.
By keeping its safety scores in check, particularly the ISS score, Swift ensures that fewer drivers will be subject to DOT inspections. More importantly, Swift ensures that its drivers remain compliant and safe.
HELP Inc. is a non-profit public/private partnership between trucking company leaders, enforcement agencies and state DOTs to improve highway safety and efficiency. HELP’s Board of Directors is comprised of an equal number of industry and public executives to maintain a balanced perspective on the issues impacting the trucking industry on our nation’s highways. To date, HELP has invested more than $600 million to deploy PrePass weigh station bypassing, weigh-in-motion scales, PrePass Plus electronic toll payment and other innovative truck safety technologies across the United States to improve safety, reduce truck-related emissions and preserve highway infrastructure.