Earlier this year, Scottsbluff, Neb.-based petroleum distributor JBC, Inc., won the 2006 Fleet Safety Award from the Nebraska Trucking Association.
“Winning this award was such an achievement, since we had a great year for growth and our drivers hadn’t had any accidents,” said Brian Copsey, vice president of JBC. “It was definitely a highlight for our company.”
The day after the award was presented, Copsey got a 6 a.m. call from one of his drivers. He had been involved in a serious accident in Las Vegas – a head-on, 60 mph collision with a drunk driver. Luckily, neither driver was seriously injured, but the truck – a six-month-old Western Star 4900 SA – and its trailer were totaled.
“When I saw the pictures of the truck, I couldn’t believe my driver walked away from it,” said Copsey. “It’s a true testament to the rugged construction of Western Star trucks.”
Since that accident, JBC has continued to grow its business. The company’s been around since 1977, but has tripled in size over the last four years. They now haul more than 50 million gallons of fuel annually, and have customers in six states. There are currently 14 trucks in the JBC fleet, several of which are Western Star® 4900 SA tractors. Copsey plans to eventually run a 100 percent Western Star fleet.
“After analyzing the trucks we’ve bought over the years, Western Star definitely has the lowest operating and maintenance costs,” said Copsey. “Plus, our drivers love them.”
Like many carriers today, Copsey says that driver retention is a priority for him. One of the ways he invests in his drivers is by spec’ing out his rigs with creature comforts like a 54-inch sleeper and satellite radio. The trucks also feature exterior chrome accessories for a sleek look.
“Many of our new drivers have never been in a Western Star before, and they’re excited to drive a premium product,” said Copsey. “They spend so much time in the trucks, it’s worth it to spend a little extra to keep them happy.”
And when drivers are happy, customers are happy. Copsey is a firm believer that it’s good for his business to have a fleet of drivers who are proud to come to work every day.
“The managers at the gas stations on our delivery routes are consistently complimenting us on our premium equipment and our high level of service,” said Copsey. “Our drivers take pride in what they do and having a nice truck contributes to that.”
Floyd’s Sales and Service in Scottsbluff, Neb., has supplied JBC with trucks for more than 15 years. Copsey values his relationship with the dealership, and especially appreciates the breadth and expertise of the entire Western Star dealer network.
“With customers in six states, trucks occasionally need service while they’re out on the road,” said Copsey. “Fortunately, whenever an issue arises, all I have to do is call my contact at Floyd’s and he makes sure that the closest Western Star dealer is ready to quickly resolve the problem.”
Luckily – JBC’s recent accident notwithstanding – problems have been few and far between for Copsey.
“As soon as we started buying Western Star trucks, I knew that I loved the brand’s premium construction, low maintenance costs and sharp appearance,” said Copsey. “Now that I’ve witnessed how safe they are, we’re definitely a Western Star customer for life.”
Western Star Trucks, headquartered in Redford, Mich., produces heavy-duty custom trucks for long-haul and vocational applications. Western Star is a subsidiary of Freightliner LLC. Freightliner LLC produces and markets Class 3-8 vehicles and is a Daimler company, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.