The Truck Safety Coalition, a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.), has awarded its first-ever Distinguished Safety Leadership Award to Don Osterberg, senior vice president of safety, driver training and security at motor carrier Schneider National.
“Don has always pushed the industry envelope when it comes to safety on our nation’s highways,” says Jeff Burns, a board member of both P.A.T.T and CRASH and National Transportation Counsel for the Truck Safety Coalition. “Don doesn’t just talk about truck safety. He pursues it with a vengeance and follows up with persistent reassessment and improvement, with the ultimate goal of saving lives.”
Burns notes that the award is extremely important to the Truck Safety Coalition. "We've never recognized a trucking industry executive in this way before," he says. "I hope it's a watershed (in relations between the advocacy groups and trucking)."
Osterberg agrees. "I believe there is a quiet majority in trucking who recognize that this could represent the dawning of a new era of collaboration and civility between organizations that have often been at odds with one another," Osterberg notes. “I am optimistic we could be taking this in a new direction.”
During his tenure at Schneider, Osterberg has led many initiatives designed to ensure the highest levels of safety for the motoring public and company drivers, including the installation of speed governors on all company truck engines, placement of electronic onboard recorders in all trucks and the screening of all drivers for sleep apnea.
“Fatigue-related crashes have dropped by 27 percent and the fatal crash rate has dropped by 59 percent at Schneider under Don’s leadership,” notes Burns. "To top it off, he's done this while he's saved the company money. Through his leadership there is now absolute, hard solid proof that safety need not be sacrificed to promote productivity."