Dealer Tire Goes on the Defensive With DT HERO

June 1, 2016

Dealer Tire LLC recently found itself on the defensive in a good way. The Cleveland-based independent tire distributor was recognized for its innovative DT HERO defensive driving program designed to make Dealer Tire associates better drivers.

The Monte Ahuja College of Business at Cleveland State University, the Rotary Club of Cleveland and the Association for Talent Development presented Dealer Tire with an award for DT HERO at a luncheon on May 19 at Windows on the River in Cleveland.

According to Jill Marcotte, partner and chief supply chain officer at Dealer Tire, the company has approximately 300 drivers who deliver tires to car dealerships across the U.S. and Canada.   

“We’re dedicated to helping car dealers put safe vehicles on the road, and that dedication to safety has been a key to our success,” says Marcotte. “We developed the DT HERO program to make our associates better, safer drivers.”

Marcotte says the company looked at several “canned” driver training programs, but couldn’t find one that fulfilled its needs. An in-house team of learning and safety specialists, distribution center managers and associates developed the DT HERO program. The name is an acronym for driver safety topics:

* Drive Defensively.

* Take Responsibility.

* Have a Way Out.

* Eliminate Distractions.

* Read and React Safely to Conditions.

* Obey Traffic Regulations and Dealer Tire Policies.

The program incorporates Web-based training, safety meetings, instructor-led training and video-based exercises to simulate driving conditions and demonstrate safety practices. Drivers also experience hands-on exercises in parking lots and on the road, and receive final certification as a DT HERO by passing a written test and successfully completing an on-road driving evaluation.

“We launched the program in January 2015, and by April 2015, all of our existing drivers were certified as DT HEROs,” says Marcotte. “Since implementing the program, we’ve seen an overall accident reduction rate of 24% and have reduced year-over-year accident claim costs by 74%.”

The company has also seen a shift toward increased safety awareness among its delivery drivers, distribution center managers and associates.

“Many of our distribution center managers are creating their own safety challenges for their teams and are rewarding them for accident-free performances,” says Marcotte. “We’re getting positive feedback from new hires who are impressed with the caliber of training we’re providing, and some of our associates have taken the initiative to hold their own driver safety huddles, brainstorming about challenging delivery locations and how to safely navigate those situations.”

Dealer Tire is a family-owned company that was founded in 1999 by the owners of the former Mueller Tire & Brake, a Cleveland-based retail chain founded in 1918. Dealer Tire manages replacement tire and parts programs for 23 automotive original equipment manufacturers in the United States and eight in Canada. It serves more than 10,000 car dealerships from 42 distributions centers across the U.S. and Canada. For more information about Dealer Tire, visit