J.S. Helwig & Sons, a contract carrier of temperature-controlled and time-sensitive freight, signed a multi-year contract renewal with SmartDrive. Since adopting the SmartDrive video-based safety program, Helwig has reduced bodily injuries by 60%, seen 44 initial claims from plaintiff attorneys dropped once they saw the SmartDrive video, and reduced its DOT scores for both crash indicator and unsafe driving.
Additionally, the fleet experienced only a moderate increase in its insurance rates, despite steep increases experienced across the market.
“SmartDrive has been a game changer for us. On-time delivery is important, but safety is number one,” commented Dave Benson, director of safety, J.S. Helwig. “The immediate safety benefits we received from the SmartDrive program have continued long after our initial implementation, which is why we were delighted to renew our contract. With both road-facing and cab-facing cameras, we’re able to correct bad habits before they become accidents, which is evidenced by the results we’ve seen—fewer accidents, bodily injuries and claims from plaintiff attorneys. It’s amazing.”
Headquartered in Terrell, Texas, Helwig operates 350 trucks hauling refrigerated goods across the Midwest, southeast, and northeast United States. Named the “Top Refrigerated Motor Carrier of the Year” by leading shippers, Helwig implemented the SmartDrive program in 2016 across its entire fleet—both company drivers and owner-operators—with the aim of reducing collision frequency and maximizing protection for drivers.
A carefully planned rollout communication strategy ensured driver buy-in early on. In addition to experiencing no driver attrition as a result of adoption, Helwig’s SmartDrive Safety Score has improved 65%.
“When we initially rolled out the program, we made a point of educating our drivers on how it worked and how it would help them should they be involved in an incident,” commented Benson. “Beyond not losing any drivers during our rollout, I now have drivers calling me and telling me about incidents before I even see a video. Given the choice of one or two cameras, the majority of drivers choose two—for protection.”
The Helwig team appreciates the consistency and flexibility of the SmartDrive program, In addition to allowing the company to provide road-facing cameras to some drivers, and road- and cab-facing cameras to others as needed, Benson points out that SmartDrive’s managed service program ensures managers only see events that need coaching, whereas video safety providers that rely solely computer vision can overwhelm fleet managers with events.
“The SmartDrive platform paid for itself in the first year. Saving us time and money, the program continues to deliver results as measured by safety and operational improvements,” added Benson. “All it takes is one minor lawsuit and you’ve recouped your investment. SmartDrive delivers.”
“J.S. Helwig & Sons’ commitment to driver safety is unsurpassed and our continued partnership is a testament to the priority the company places on ensuring its drivers are protected,” remarked Steve Mitgang, SmartDrive CEO. “We applaud Dave and his team for the remarkable results achieved over the past few years. Fewer injuries and insurance claims, coupled with improved DOT scores clearly demonstrate the value of video-based safety and analytics as a key element of a comprehensive safety program.”
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