Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Alabama’s best truck drivers to vie for honors at safe driving competition

Professional truck drivers from across Alabama and representing two dozen trucking firms will compete at the Alabama Trucking Association’s State Truck Driving Championships Friday, June 10 at the Pelham Civic Complex in Pelham, Ala.

The annual event is produced by the Association’s Safety & Maintenance Management Council (SMMC), a subgroup of the Association composed of fleet safety managers and fleet vehicle maintenance supervisors. The competition also serves as a qualifier for the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championships scheduled for later this summer in Indianapolis, Ind.

At both the state and national contests, competitors are scored on a written exam covering driver safety and industry best practices; a pre-trip vehicle defect inspection; and vehicle obstacle course, where contestants will navigate a truck and trailer through a series of obstacles. At the end of the competition, contestants’ cumulative scores are ranked, and winners from nine categories are announced at an awards dinner later that evening.

The three highest scorers from each class receive trophies and prizes, and special awards also given for the event’s top rookie, highest score for the vehicle defects inspection; and the event’s highest overall scorer (the Grand Champion).

To qualify for the competition, a driver must be employed by a member company of the Association and have had no accidents for the previous 12 months. Some competitors are handpicked by their supervisors for their experience and work ethic, while others won company competitions.

Last year, Jeff Higgins, a driver for UPS Freight from Pinson, Ala. was the highest overall scorer, posting a combined 348 points to win the 3-axle class and the Grand Champion trophy, sponsored by Birmingham Freightliner. Other major sponsors of this year’s competition are Infint-i, PrePass/Help, Inc., and Wal-Mart Transportation.

Other class winners last year were Daniel Thompson of FedEx Freight (Twins); Steve Brannen of Wal-Mart Transportation (Sleeper Berth); William Brandon of FedEx Freight (5-Axle); Samuel Castleberry of Con-Way Freight (4-Axle); James McCormick of Wal-Mart Transportation (Flatbed); Darrel Beard of Wal-Mart Transportation (Tanker); Mark Knight of AAA Cooper Transportation (Straight Truck); and Tony Johnson of UPS Freight (Step Van).

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Ford Boswell at 334-834-3983 or