RECOGNIZING TOP SAFETY PERFORMERS:
BENDIX PARTNERS WITH FREYMILLER ON TECHNOLOGY AND TRAINING
Oklahoma Carrier Equips Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ and Bendix® ADB22X®
Air Disc Brakes; Utilizes SafetyDirect® for Driver Coaching
ELYRIA, Ohio – (Trailer Technician) – Recognizing the benefits of new safety tools and technologies from the driver’s vantage point is paramount for Freymiller, based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It’s also a big reason why the family-owned and -operated carrier puts great effort into not only adopting advanced safety technology for its vehicles, but also in managing how those technologies are rolled out.
“Freymiller is a very driver-centric organization, in that many of our managers and operations people previously were drivers,” said Bill Woolsey, director of safety at Freymiller, who also maintains his CDL. “That culture has made us think even more critically about the safety systems we use and how we integrate them. For that reason, we are on the leading edge of a lot of the safety technologies in the industry. We embrace technologies that we feel are going to add value to our fleet and will help our drivers do their jobs better and more safely.”
Freymiller equips its fleets with the Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ advanced driver assistance system and Bendix® ADB22X® air disc brakes, from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC – the North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety, air management, and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles. The fleet also utilizes SafetyDirect® by Bendix CVS and works closely with Bendix on driver and technician training.
A Family Legacy of Service and Safety
The Freymiller legacy dates back to 1968, when founder Don Freymiller purchased his first truck to transport livestock in the state of Wisconsin. Don Freymiller remains active within the company, where his son David Freymiller serves as CEO. From the beginning, the company has prided itself on the rapport and relationships it builds with its customers, and the service it offers them.
The carrier now operates some 600 tractors for the transport of meats and other consumable products across the country. Freymiller runs predominantly Peterbilt and Kenworth tractors, with an average age of less than two years. Most of the fleet’s nearly 1,000 trailers are refrigerated.
Safety training and recognition is ingrained in Freymiller’s success. It’s reflected in safety shares – where an employee shares a safety lesson learned from personal experience – at every company meeting, in monthly town hall meetings, and also throughout the fabric of the company itself: Several walls at the central terminal in Oklahoma City are dedicated to showcasing the company’s collection of safety recognition plaques and awards earned over the years.
The company has developed a robust training program that includes an orientation program for new drivers, along with continuing education consisting of online learning, custom modules, and routine training sessions and assignments. Much of the training is also customized to each individual’s needs.
“From ownership to leadership to management to operations, everyone here is doing their part in terms of developing the safety culture,” said Woolsey. “And we’re always trying to do more. We all work together as a team to make this happen. Through our training program all the way to following up on our safety data and coaching our people, we spend a great deal of time working with our drivers on the tools we offer and on following through to track that participation and how our drivers are doing. We heavily promote the training component, and we have an expectation that our operations people are participating in the training as well.”
Equipped for Safety
Freymiller specs Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ – Bendix’s flagship driver assistance system – on its vehicles, as well as Bendix® ADB22X® air disc brakes. The company also uses SafetyDirect® by Bendix CVS to make the most of driving and vehicle data in shaping its safety and driver training programs.
Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ integrates or “fuses” information from its radar, video, and the vehicle’s braking system, combining and cross-checking the data from sensors that work together and not just in parallel. By creating a detailed and more accurate picture from this information, Fusion delivers enhanced autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, along with following distance alerts, stationary object alerts, lane departure warning, alerts when speeding, and braking on stationary vehicles – all while prioritizing alerts to help reduce driver distraction.
Event-based data – including video – can be wirelessly transmitted for driver coaching and analysis by fleet safety personnel. Fusion is built on the foundational technology of the Bendix® ESP® Electronic Stability Program full-stability system. This technology enables it to help drivers potentially avoid some additional crash situations, including rollovers, loss-of-control, and sideswipe crashes.
Bendix® ADB22X® air disc brakes virtually eliminate brake fade, unlike drum brakes, which can fade during heavy stop-and-go traffic situations or during mountain descents – extending stopping distances as they heat up. Air disc brakes provide shorter stopping distances; a smooth, car-like feel; and greater reliability with more consistent stops, while also delivering ROI in the shop through longer friction life and quicker pad changes than drum brakes. Additionally, the consistency and stopping power of air disc brakes help to optimize the performance of advanced driver assistance systems.
The SafetyDirect® system is a video-based safety platform featuring a user-friendly web portal that provides fleet operators with comprehensive feedback on their fleet and drivers, along with videos of severe events. The system wirelessly receives near real-time data and event-based information from the vehicle to the fleet’s back office for analysis.
The Link Between Technology and Safety
The Freymiller team quickly realized the benefits of Wingman Fusion and SafetyDirect. With Wingman Fusion, drivers have been able to receive instant feedback on some driving behaviors, which allows them to self-correct some potential issues, such as following too close to the forward vehicle. In addition, the SafetyDirect system provides information and videos to help the fleet identify drivers who would benefit from additional training.
When Freymiller rolled out SafetyDirect a few years ago, some drivers were apprehensive at first.
“We took the initiative to address the fear of the unknown and educate our drivers about these technologies and what they could expect,” Woolsey said. “And we made it a point to promote SafetyDirect as a coaching tool.”
Last year, the company partnered with Bendix to create a driver recognition program that considered driver metrics from the SafetyDirect® system and offered coaching support to drivers in those areas where the system showed they could improve.
“If a driver is struggling in a particular area, such as what’s shown by SafetyDirect monitoring activity reports, then we bring them in to coach them and talk about where they are performing well and where there are opportunities for improvement, and we complement that with remedial training,” Woolsey said.
The company also initiated a monthly recognition program, “Top Performer,” in which drivers are acknowledged for their safe driving practices and high performance as recorded in the SafetyDirect system. Outstanding drivers win Freymiller apparel and are highlighted in the company’s monthly newsletter.
Woolsey said the coaching sessions have helped to break down barriers to acceptance that some drivers had in the past.
“We’ve had a lot of success with that program and with recognizing our top performers,” he said. “Some drivers who were low performers became top performers. That’s where the big wins are for us, and it’s where we see the true value in the technology.”
According to Woolsey, the company has also seen a reduction in the severity and frequency of its auto liability claims since the technology has been implemented. In addition, partnership and support from Bendix has contributed to the company’s progress.
“Anytime we’ve needed help, our Bendix representative has come out and met with us one-on-one and spent quality time with us,” he said. “The Bendix team is always there for us and has been a great resource anytime we’ve had a question or have needed support. So, we really consider Bendix a partner in our safety program.”
A Partnership to Support Safety Training
For its part, Bendix is excited to contribute to Freymiller’s ongoing safety recognition efforts.
“Working with Freymiller has been a proud achievement for us, especially because we think alike when it comes to leveraging both training and technologies to keep drivers, passengers, roads, and vehicles safe,” said Lance Hansen, Bendix vice president – aftermarket sales, fleet, service, and field operations. “We’re honored to partner with Freymiller when it comes to fueling a safety culture where everyone contributes. And we’re thrilled to celebrate Freymiller’s Top Performers, who are elevating safety performance for their fellow drivers.”
Hansen noted that Bendix safety technologies complement safe driving practices. No commercial vehicle safety technology replaces a skilled, alert driver exercising safe driving techniques and proactive, comprehensive driver training. Responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle remains with the driver at all times.
Through its ever-growing portfolio of commercial vehicle technologies, Bendix delivers on safety, vehicle performance and efficiency, and unparalleled post-sales support – all areas critical to fleets’ successes. Strengthening return on investment in the equipment and technologies that keep trucks and drivers safe and lower their total costs of vehicle ownership helps enhance the safety of everyone sharing North America’s roadways – Bendix’s constant goal.
About Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, a member of Knorr-Bremse, develops and supplies leading-edge active safety technologies, energy management solutions, and air brake charging and control systems and components under the Bendix® brand name for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, tractors, trailers, buses, and other commercial vehicles throughout North America. An industry pioneer, employing more than 4,100 people, Bendix – and its wholly owned subsidiary, R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc. – is driven to deliver the best solutions for improved vehicle safety, performance, and overall operating cost. Contact us at 1-800-AIR-BRAKE (1-800-247-2725) or visit bendix.com. Stay connected and informed through Bendix expert podcasts, blog posts, videos, and other resources at knowledge-dock.com. Follow Bendix on Twitter at twitter.com/Bendix_CVS. Log on and learn from the Bendix experts at brake-school.com. And to learn more about career opportunities at Bendix, visit bendix.com/careers.