Tucker Freight Lines: Using Technology to Save Jobs and Improve Performance

Key Takeaways:

  1. High-frequency professional development plans (PDPs) unlock long-term behavioral changes for drivers 
  2. Templated discussion plans help both trainers and drivers focus on their PDP goals, improving meeting efficiency
  3. Early implementation of Safety Suite® led to sustained improvement among 87% of drivers on plans
  4. Tucker Freight Lines’ three drivers with the largest speed management issues are now in the bottom 15% of speeders
  5. Speeding-focused PDPs led to significant improvements in fuel economy after placing drivers on a PDP

Tucker Freight Lines is a leading dry van, open deck, and dedicated freight carrier based in Dubuque, Iowa, that operates over 100 tractors and 300 dry van and open deck trailers. 

Tucker Freight Lines has set a superior standard of safety and customer service for their fleet. To achieve this standard, the carrier takes its drivers’ professional development seriously and has implemented the Idelic Safety Suite and its industry-leading PDP Module to identify and address driver risk. In doing so, Tucker Freight Lines is successfully using technology to increase retention and streamline their training process across their entire fleet.

Speed Management and a Driver on the Line

In particular, one driver saw significant improvement in his on-the-road behavior and even saved his job thanks to his own hard work, that of the Tucker Freight Lines’ Safety team, and Safety Suite’s PDP Module.

“This driver had not been around for a long time, probably four months… It started with his speed being an issue,” said Cody McClain, Tucker Freight Lines Director of Safety & HR.

Tucker Freight Lines’ ISAAC ELDs gave this driver a poor ISAAC Coach score, recording him as one of the top three speeders in the company, as well as someone who was hard on his equipment. When approached about his speed management issues, the driver explained, “It’s just how I drive. It’s how I was taught.” Tucker Freight Lines’ Safety team set out to show him a better, safer, and more efficient way.

The PDP that Saved a Job

Tucker Freight Lines used Safety Suite to assign this driver a three-week PDP focused on speed management, with the following touchpoints and coaching combined with his training and data collection:

PDP WeekDriver Meets With: 
Week #1 
  • Safety Manager
  • Operations Manager 
  • Driver Manager
Week #2
  • Director of Safety
  • Driver Manager
  • Driver Relations Manager 
Week #3
  • Safety Manager
  • Operations Manager 
  • Driver Manager

By the end of the PDP, this driver had significantly decreased his average speed and increased his fuel economy. Previously, Tucker Freight Lines’ ELDs showed this driver speeding almost 20% of the time he was on the road. Now, those same ELDs show him speeding only 1.5% of the time and have registered a massive improvement in his truck’s fuel economy.

“I did not believe that this was possible,” the driver said. So, what made it possible?

Using Safety Suite to Get the Job Done

Safety Suite’s PDP Module helps fleets implement a standardized, efficient, and highly effective professional development program. Some of the key features that make the PDP Module a standout offering include:

The Task Module

“The task list keeps us accountable,” said Cody. “It makes it so you don’t forget or procrastinate the tasks.”

Safety Suite’s Task Module lists all the tasks a driver, trainer, and managers need to carry out during a PDP, including video assignments, conversations to be held, and examinations. It also notifies managers when a task is approaching, ensuring that a fleet’s safety team can faithfully execute on all their planned touchpoints.

Talking Points 

“The talking points organize the conversation… It’s a conduit. It’s what guides where we’re going and how to do it. We have what we want to do in our minds, and it helps guide that and express it across the organization.”

Fleets can use templated discussion plans with preset talking points to start each driver meeting, enabling managers to hold guided discussions and maintain a standardized, effective escalation process. Here, fleets can set the agenda for each meeting so managers can hold productive, efficient meetings with their drivers while still having personalized and individualized goals.

Results from Early Implementation

In Tucker Freight Lines’ first month using Safety Suite, seven of the eight drivers on PDPs made substantial, meaningful progress on various issues, from speed management to following distance. While still early, this represents an 87% success rate for the carrier’s PDP program in Safety Suite.

Their program has seen particular success with speed management. The first three drivers placed on a PDP in Safety Suite were assigned a plan to address their speed management issues. Since then, those drivers have gone from the fleet’s three most common speeders to their bottom 15% of speeders.

“With the PDP format… it gave me a more focused way to talk to him. It opened up that coaching conversation. It’s what we’ve always wanted to do.”

—Cody McClain, Director of Safety & HR

Safety Suite has helped Tucker Freight Lines raise the bar for safety and retention. As they have driven poor behavior out and seen Risk Scores decrease, Tucker Freight Lines is set to achieve new heights of safety, customer service, and operational efficiency.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can use Safety Suite to reduce turnover and upgrade your training system, watch a 2-minute demo here.