Driver-Centric Innovation: How Searcy Trucking Transforms Fleet Efficiency and Safety 

4 min read

“More than once [drivers] asked me, ‘how come we didn’t get this sooner?’ And ‘how come every fleet doesn’t have this?”

Rachelle Baker

Manager of Driver Services

Safe, Productive, and Driver Centric

Being safe, being productive, and being driver centric is top of mind for Rachelle Baker, Searcy Trucking’s manager of driver services. “It’s in our culture to live by those three philosophies when it comes to our drivers,” she said. “It’s what’s helped us grow to become one of the largest, and one of the safest, open-deck carriers in Manitoba. We always look for technology that will help our drivers, which in turn will help our company.”

Being safe, and doing things right by their customers, has its rewards. In 2019, Searcy took home the prestigious North American “Machinery Haulers Fleet Safety Award.” A few years earlier, they were named Volvo’s Small Fleet of the Year.

With operations in Winnipeg and Altona Manitoba, the open-deck trucking operation has 155 power units that run both in Canada and in the States. “Anything you can think of, we can haul it,” said Baker, “including combines for the Ag industry and jet engines.”

Don’t Worry About Transponders, Just Turn on Bypass  

In 2019 the company transitioned from their Omnitracs AOBRDs to ELDs. The transition was smooth, said Baker. “We had a lot of back-end support from Omnitracs, which made the integration very easy for us. Later in 2019, we simply ‘turned on’ Drivewyze PreClear – providing our drivers with weigh station bypass. That’s been a great decision.”

“It was a matter of turning on PreClear through Omnitracs it didn’t take long at all. I think of that now, since many of us are working from home due to COVID-19. Drivewyze really simplifies things as we continue to add new trucks.”

Rachelle Baker

Manager of Driver Services

According to Baker, the company had heard that weigh station bypass could help the company be more productive on the road – so research began. The question: which system to use? “We did our research and found Drivewyze provided the best coverage in the U.S. and Canada to give us more bypass opportunities,” she said. “And we didn’t have to worry about transponders – installing them and keeping track of everything. It was a matter of turning on PreClear through Omnitracs – it didn’t take long at all in our back office or at a home office. I think of that now, since many of us are working from home due to COVID-19. Drivewyze really simplifies things as we continue to add new trucks.”

Searcy Trucking Today: Delivering a Driver Centric Solution that Works 

Today the company is spending time on the road instead of the inspection site. One of its trucks recorded 19 bypasses in a single month. “Remember, we’re an open deck carrier, so we have tie downs and load securement that inspection officers might want to inspect. There is always a stress level with drivers when they go through an inspection site – even if they know they’re in compliance and should have nothing to worry about. Weigh station bypass is more important than ever right now due to the need for social distancing and COVID-19. We don’t want our drivers having to make unnecessary stops. We’ve had inspections that in the past, could last up to 1-1/2 hours. That takes us out of the delivery window and that costs both us, and the driver, money. Those issues are all but gone now.”

Baker said weigh station bypass is something, that once drivers have it, they don’t want to give it up. “More than once they’ve asked me, ‘how come we didn’t get this sooner?’ and ‘how come every fleet doesn’t have this?’ That tells us a lot about driver acceptance. They’d miss it if Drivewyze wasn’t activated in their truck.”

Management is also sold. “Drivewyze provides reports, which show our fuel and time savings on a monthly basis, along with the number of bypasses our drivers received. It gives us our ROI. It’s a win for drivers and a win for us.”

Beyond Bypass: Keeping Drivers Safe 

While Searcy Trucking has always been safety driven, and recognized by the industry for their safety record, the company is always open to new ways to help drivers. “Not long ago we activated Drivewyze Safety Notifications,” said Baker.

“I’ve been impressed with how Drivewyze thinks outside the box and comes up with new ideas and services that help their customers. I think the safety notifications are a great example of that. It gives our drivers a heads-up on high rollover areas, steep grades, and runaway ramps on mountain passes, plus on low bridges. Since we often haul oversized loads, that’s especially helpful. I had a driver once tell me how he had to stop his rig and measure his height to make sure he could fit under the bridge. Any technology that will help with this, we’ll take.”

Rachelle Baker

Manager of Driver Services

1sources: V.J. Brown et. al, “Economic Analysis and Business Case for Motor Carrier Industry Support of CVISN”, Oct 2007,USDOT (sponsor), [for time and cost savings]. Mr. Bill McCall, “Advantage I-75 Mainline Automated Clearance System, Final Report, Part 2 of 5: Motor Carrier Fuel Consumption Individual Evaluation Report”, Center for Transportation Research and Education (CTRE), Iowa State Univ. 1998. [for fuel savings].

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