Driver issues

Riverside Transport rolls out health initiative as part of driver first culture

(Photo: FreightWaves Staff Photographer)

(Photo: FreightWaves Staff Photographer)

Riverside Transport is making strides toward helping drivers achieve better health in 2019. The carrier, which prizes itself on its driver first culture, offers drivers access to gym memberships and nutrition education to help them make better food choices.

“We’re rolling out a big health initiative here. We have corporate memberships for gyms across the country, and we’re going to be doing some classes on things like meal prepping and working out in the truck,” Riverside Transport Director of Recruiting and Marketing Sadie Clement said. “We’ve been working with dietitians at grocery stores all over the country. So, if a driver is in Washington, we can point them to a grocery store where they can meet with a dietician who will show them what groceries to buy.”

The initiative started after one driver, Pamela, decided to focus more on wellness, inspiring other RTI drivers to do the same thing. Pam’s biggest goal in 2019 is to lose 100 pounds and get healthier. Clement has been helping her achieve that goal.

“Fitness and health is actually one of my passions. We started going to the gym together. We go over lunch whenever they’re in town, plus nights and weekends,” Clement said. “If people come to us and want us to help, every single one of us have been empowered by the owner here to drop everything and help a driver. It doesn’t matter if I have a busy day at work, if I know Pam is in town, we’re taking a long lunch and working out together because the drivers’ goals are our goals.”

Pam is poised to become RTI’s second brand ambassador. She will start a Facebook page chronicling her work outs, her meals and other steps she takes toward better health at the beginning of the year.

While Pam’s focus will be on showcasing driver health, RTI’s first brand ambassador, Chelsee, focuses largely encouraging and empowering women to enter the trucking industry. She was an RTI recruiter for two years before deciding to try one of the programs herself and become a driver.

She uses her Facebook page, Chelsee in Pink, to talk about RTI’s programs and life on the road. The page takes its name from her pink truck.

RTI is dedicated to recruiting and empowering women drivers. The company currently employs 27 solo women drivers and 22 team women drivers, according to Clement.

Another large part of RTI’s driver first mission is an emphasis on home time. If the company struggles to honor a home time request, they will fly drivers home or provide rental cars at no cost to the driver.

“We had a driver who had a home time request for Thanksgiving. We got her 140 miles from home, and she ran out hours by no fault of her own. She was at a receiver, there was a delay and it ran her clock out. She was just going to be sitting a truck stop over Thanksgiving. She was in the middle of nowhere,” Clement said. “The nearest rental car location was in Indianapolis, but she actually just needed to get to Indianapolis. We weren’t just going to let her sit at a truck stop that close to home, so we actually got her a cab from Indianapolis to where she was, then back to Indianapolis so she could be home for Thanksgiving.”

Clement said RTI walks the walk, and while they make mistakes, they do their best to correct them because they are dedicated to driver success and wellbeing.

“I think it’s important that carriers in general stop looking at drivers as a commodity and start looking at them as the reason we’re all here,” she said. “Without our drivers, none of us would have our jobs. We can’t do it without them.”

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes Riverside Transport (No. 103).

Ashley Coker

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She covers air cargo, trucking and sponsored content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.