Bill Willis of Grossman Iron and Steel Co., St. Louis, has received the first-ever Safe Driver of the Year Award from Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI) for operating his entire 35-year career and driving more than 1.5 million miles without a single preventable accident. For more than three decades, Bill Willis has been transporting goods in a safe and reliable manner, and he truly exemplifies the many truck drivers who keep America’s roadways safe.
The ISRI Safe Driver of the Year Award was introduced to recognize outstanding drivers who have driven commercial motor vehicles for at least 20 years without incurring a preventable accident.
“Bill was twice the recipient of the Grossman Iron and Steel Co. Driver of the Year Award in 2000 and 2006,” says Kevin Speis, transportation manager for Grossman Iron and Steel Co. “The company’s award criteria is very stringent, including a safe driving record, perfect attendance and no injuries and a work ethic that positively separates him from his peers. Bill’s tenure with our longest-running dedicated account is a testament to his professionalism and his dedication to superior customer service. He is well-deserving of the ISRI Safe Driver of the Year Award.”
Determining Driver of the Year
The ISRI Safe Driver of the Year Award is based on the following mandatory criteria:
- Nominations may be submitted only by ISRI members in good standing.
- Nominees must be full-time employees whose primary responsibility is to operate a commercial motor vehicle.
- Nominees must be current employees of the nominating member company and must be employed for at least one year (12 consecutive months).
- Nominations must be made by someone familiar with the nominee’s work history, such as a company manager or safety director.
- No more than three drivers may be nominated per member company.
- Nominees must have a minimum of 20 years of verifiable employment as a commercial motor vehicle driver without a preventable accident.
Other criteria taken into account are the driver’s contribution to highway safety, letters of appreciation, deeds of heroism on or off the job and membership in civic and fraternal organizations.
The award was presented to Willis at the ISRI 2013 Convention & Exposition in Orlando, Fla. In addition to travel and lodging at the convention, he received a crystal truck trophy, personalized certificate, ISRI Safe Driver leather jacket, congratulatory letter and a $500 personal check.
The second-place winner was Joseph Cortinez (33 years of safe driving) of Behr Trucking Co. Inc., Rockford, Ill., and third place went to Dale Corban (30 years of safe driving) of PSC Metals-Garn LLC, Wooster, Ohio.
Honoring Fleet Operations
During the convention ISRI also announced its first ever Vehicle Safety Awards, recognizing top members for outstanding commitment to the safety of their employees and the general public as evidenced by progressive and effective fleet safety programs. The awards are in two categories: Best Fleet and Pacesetter.
The Best Fleet Award recognizes the outstanding fleets (in four classes with first, second and third place) with the lowest DOT (Department of Transportation) and non-DOT combined accident rate for 12 months (2012).
The Pacesetter Award recognizes the outstanding fleets (in four classes, first place only) with the lowest DOT and non-DOT combined accident rate for 36 months (Jan. 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2012). In the event of ties, members were evaluated on driver training, vehicle accident prevention and vehicle maintenance programs.
This year’s recipients were:
Small Class (300,000 to 500,000 miles per year)
- Pacesetter Award – Metals Recycling LLC, Schnitzer Northeast, Johnston, R.I.
- Best Fleet Award – First Place, Metals Recycling LLC, Schnitzer Northeast, Johnston
Intermediate Class (500,001 to 1 million miles per year)
- Pacesetter Award – Industrial Services of America Inc., Louisville, Ky.
- Best Fleet Award
- First Place – Industrial Services of America Inc., Louisville
- Second Place – Consolidated Scrap Resources Inc., York, Pa.
- Third Place – Prolerized New Eng- land Co., Schnitzer Northeast, Ever- ett, Mass.
Medium Class (1,000,001 to 5 million miles per year)
- Pacesetter Award – The Newark Group Inc., Cranford, N.J.
- Best Fleet Award
- First Place – The Newark Group Inc., Cranford
- Second Place – Schupan and Sons Inc., Kalamazoo, Mich.
- Third Place – Metal Exchange Corp., St. Louis
Large Class (greater than 5 million miles per year)
- Pacesetter Award – OmniSource Transport LLC, Fort Wayne, Ind.
- Best Fleet Award – First Place, OmniSource Transport LLC, Fort Wayne.
Driving a truck is one of the most demanding and essential jobs in the U.S. According to www.truckinfo.net, 3.5 million professional truck drivers deliver goods to consumers and business in the U.S. every day. These drivers log more than 432 billion miles per year and deliver nearly 70 percent of the U.S. freight tonnage—$671 billion of manufactured and retailed goods.
Clearly, truck drivers are essential to the U.S. economy and they consistently provide their services professionally and safely. The industry is getting safer, too. From 2007 to 2009, the number of people injured in U.S. large truck crashes decreased by 27 percent, and the number of fatalities declined by 30 percent, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Washington, D.C. Even though roadside driver and vehicle inspections increased from 2008 to 2010, the agency took fewer drivers and fewer vehicles out of service in 2010 than it did in 2008.
U.S. truck drivers achieved these safety accomplishments despite challenges, such as having fewer rest areas and dealing with more traffic on the roads.
The scrap and recycling industry is doing its part by emphasizing safe driving through rigorous driver training, accident prevention and vehicle maintenance programs. These companies are setting the bar high to ensure that America’s roads are safe for all motorists.
The author is director of transportation safety for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.