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Vocational Profile: Major focus

Dec. 7, 2016
It’s all about safety at Cypress Truck Lines

The determination to continually enhance safety is of utmost importance to Cypress Truck Lines. “We have more than 600 drivers, and they play a large role in how we maintain the highest safety standards,” states Thad Penland, vice president. “We have top-of-the-line equipment that helps them perform their jobs in the safest way possible, and our dedication to safety is also seen in the highly experienced, dedicated technicians in our maintenance facilities.”

Jacksonville, FL-based Cypress operates more than 600 tractors and 1,200 flatbed trailers from five terminals in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. The carrier hauls a range of building materials with a mix of Peter­bilt, Freightliner, and International tractors and trailers from Ravens, East, Mac, and Utility.

“We don’t jump on every new safety system that comes along, and we prefer to adopt proven technologies,” Penland says. “But once we buy into something, we’re in it for the long haul.”

Initially, for example, Cypress was an adopter of roll stability systems;  in 2013, the company took delivery of 100 Peterbilt tractors with Bendix ESP, Wingman Advanced collision mitigation, and BlindSpotter side object detection systems. More recently, it placed 30 new International tractors into service equipped with the Bendix Wingman Fusion collision mitigation system, which integrates a suite of safety technologies that includes vehicle braking, radar, and camera systems powered by EyeQ,  Mobil­eye’s System-on-Chip processor.

“We’ve decided to spec Wingman Fusion on every new piece of equipment we buy because with video, radar, and other sensors working together, the system realizes events sooner, alerts drivers, and helps mitigate potential collisions or lessens their severity,” Penland relates. “It helps drivers avoid crash situations, including rollovers, loss of control, and sideswipe crashes, while prioritizing alerts to reduce distractions.

“These technologies make our drivers even better,” Penland continues. “At the same time, safety technologies complement safe driving practices. Nothing replaces an alert driver who is exercising safe driving techniques.”

While technology removes guesswork and enables drivers to work smarter, Penland is quick to point out that the dedication to safety at Cypress Truck Lines extends to the health of its  drivers. “Many truck drivers are fatigued, have a poor diet, and have little opportunity to exercise,” he says.

“Industry research increasingly points to the hidden cost of unhealthy drivers—from higher healthcare expenses to higher accident rates. We work hard to counteract the idea that it’s not possible to have a healthier lifestyle on the road by providing information and opportunities about healthy alternatives.”

In place at the company is a rewards program that recognizes performance and includes driver surveys. “Our drivers’ input is highly valued and greatly appreciated,” Penland says. “We use the data to identify areas that need attention and improvement to make more informed decisions.”

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