The Truckload Carriers Assn. (TCA) announced it is accepting nominations for the fifth annual Best Fleets to Drive For contest and survey — an annual evaluation of the best employers in the trucking industry which is open to all for-hire trucking carriers with 10 or more trucks, regardless of TCA membership status.

Company drivers and owner-operators can nominate any for-hire carrier from now through Oct. 31 by completing an application form at www.BestFleetsToDriveFor.com. The contest and survey are conducted by CarriersEdge, a provider of online driver quality improvement solutions.

“When we first launched Best Fleets, it was virtually unknown, and some companies were skeptical about getting involved,” said Mark Murrell, president of CarriersEdge. “Now, it has become a huge badge of honor to be named a winner, and especially an overall category winner. Companies love the visibility it brings them… and their recruiting departments make the most of it by plastering the contest logo in their marketing pieces and on their equipment. Everyone wants to drive for, and be, a Best Fleet.”

Participating fleets are evaluated against a range of criteria reflecting current human resources best practices and the resulting survey data becomes an excellent source of industry success stories in the areas of benefits, professional development, driver and community support, safety record, and company culture, Murrell said.

For 2013, a few things have changed, Murrell added. After a company has been nominated by one of its company drivers or owner-operators and agrees to participate, it will be asked to provide more details electronically rather than through a telephone interview.

CarriersEdge will still discuss the survey materials with the company via telephone, but the new process should greatly reduce the interview time, Murrell said, which has run between two to three hours in the past. The change will create one centralized, integrated system that allows for easier and timelier communications between nominated companies and TCA/CarriersEdge.

In addition, new questions have been added to this year’s survey: Drivers will be asked how much they trust the company they have nominated and companies will be asked if they have researched and understand the reasons why their people leave. The survey will also ask how much companies invest in developing their drivers.

After a company has provided the necessary information electronically, interviews will be conducted as necessary with senior fleet management and a random sampling of the company’s drivers. Top finishers will be identified as the “Best Fleets to Drive For.” The highest scoring fleet in each the Company Driver and Owner-Operator category will be named that category’s overall winner.

“The Best Fleets to Drive For program has allowed us to take the information we have been given and use it to improve in all areas of our business. We are excited each year for what (the program) stands for because it gives us the ability to know what works and what does not work,” said Trent Dye, director and general manager for Paramount Freight Systems, LLC, an overall category winner for two consecutive years.

To view best practices from last year’s survey as well as profiles of the overall winners, visit www.BestFleetsToDriveFor.com. To view the program’s Facebook page, visit www.facebook.com/bestfleetstodrivefor.