Truckers’ Competition Gets Drivers Geared Up for Safety
Hundreds of professional truck drivers showed off their driving skills during the National Truck Driving Championships last week. Hosted in part by the American Trucking Association, the competition serves as a platform to promote safe driving.
More than 400 professional truck drivers descended on Pittsburgh last week for the 77th annual National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC).
Hosted by the American Trucking Association and 50 state trucking groups, the competition helps promote the industry, encourages safe driving, and serves as a vehicle to attract younger drivers to the profession.
“Safety is the trucking industry’s highest priority,” ATA Chairman Phil Byrd said in a statement. “And there is no better place to see how deep our commitment is than at this annual gathering of the safest drivers on the road.”
Originally known as the as the National Truck Roadeo and now commonly referred to as the “Super Bowl of Safety,” the competition provides a chance for drivers to show off their driving and inspection skills via a series of tests, including a written test, personal interview, pre-trip inspection test, and, finally, a driving test.
To qualify for the national championships, drivers first compete at the state level in one of eight equipment categories, such as straight trucks, 18-wheeled five-axle sleepers, tank trucks, and twin trailers. Drivers must also have been accident-free for at least a year before competing.
Held in conjunction with the National Step Van Driving Championships and the North American Inspectors Championship, NTDC attracts about 2,000 spectators every year. Awards include first-, second-, and third-place titles, as well as one for professional excellence, vehicle condition, rookie of the year, and grand champion.
“Annually, 9 billion tons of freight are moved by trucks over nearly 400 billion miles,” ATA President Bill Graves said during NTDC’s Breakfast of Champions last Thursday, according to Transport Topics. “Every accident, every injury, every driver who weaves in and out of traffic and hugs a bumper defeats all the good that the rest of the trucking industry does. That’s why as an industry we hold the champions in this room in such high esteem.”