While the name may not immediately bring “safety” to mind, the National Truck Driving Championships put the spotlight on truck driving safety. In fact, the top truck drivers in the country competed on August 15 – 18 in an effort to prove who has the best safety chops.
Called the trucker’s “Super Bowl of Safety,” the NTDC Championships tested 424 truck drivers who won their state qualifiers earlier in the year. To qualify for the championships, truck drivers had to have been with their motor carrier for at least one year with an accident-free record. Winners from the nine categories at the state level were then sent on to the national competition, with judges evaluating them on a written exam and truck driving skills.
What Is It All About?
Across four days of hard competition, elite truck drivers from fleets across the country had a chance to bring home a trophy from within their division. Still, only one truck driver could lay claim to the title of “Grand Champion.”
In order to make it through the competition, truck drivers needed to demonstrate their safety proficiency by displaying in-depth knowledge regarding essential truck driver information, pre-trip inspections, and then make their way through an advanced truck driving course.
This intensive competition is designed to highlight professional truck drivers who have stood out among the crowded field of hundreds of thousands of truck drivers who operate on the nation’s roads day-in and day-out. Held in Columbus, Ohio, the competition is designed to provide a true skills and training test for truck drivers who have already demonstrated they have what it takes to operate safely on our nation’s roads and highways.
This event dovetails with the National Step Van Driving Championships and included a walk-through of the course and preview of the vehicles that were used for the pre-trip inspection portion of the competition. Once the on-hand part of the competition was completed, participating truck drivers were required to take a written exam to prove their proficiency on the topic.
The event drew so much attention that FMCSA administrator Ray Martinez even made an appearance and greeted participating truck drivers during a breakfast ceremony entitled the “Breakfast of Champions.”
There were several categories involved, including:
- Sleeper berth
- Straight truck
- Step van
Winners were announced during an awards banquet, where ATA leadership addressed the competitors. Curious about who this year’s finalists were? Simply follow this link.
The National Truck Driving Championships has been going on for many, many years, and proudly holds itself as a paragon event focusing on trucking safety and great driving. Professional truck drivers from all over the country work their hardest to enter the competition and many are sponsored from their own states.
Events like this only prove how essential it is for the trucking industry to focus on safety and, more than that, it shows the public that the transportation sector has a singular focus on ensuring the nation’s roads and highways remain safe for truck drivers and passenger cars, wherever and whenever.
Fleet managers, owners, and owner-operators should keep this competition in mind as they go about their daily routine. Not only does it reinforce good behavior, but it shows that your operation has safety in mind, which is quite possibly the most important aspect of running a transportation company.