Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Qualifying underway for 80th National Truck Driving Championships

Later this summer, the American Trucking Associations holds its 2017 National Truck Driving Championships — the 80th running of the event.

The event is set for August 9-12 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Drivers from all 50 states will compete for the title of National Champion in eight different classes, with one driver taking home the overall title of 2017 National Truck Driving Championships Bendix Grand Champion.

Professional truck drivers progress from state truck driving championships to nationals, competing in eight classes of truck, and one step van class. They undergo a written examination that tests their knowledge of trucking facts, rules, statistics and safety protocols, look for defects as part of their pre-trip inspection, and complete a difficult driving course.

“The trucking industry comes together every spring and summer for a series of state truck driving championships culminating in the National Truck Driving Championships,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “ATA thanks all of the drivers and companies who made the commitment to participate in the competitions and we recognize your dedication to safety.”

Several states hold truck driving championships in late June and early July. For a full list of state truck driving championships’ dates and locations, view the official schedule.

The Alabama Trucking Association held its competition May 26 in Pelham, Ala., hosting nearly 100 drivers from more than a dozen trucking firms. The event is produced by the Association’s Safety & Maintenance Management Council, a subgroup of the Association composed of fleet safety managers and fleet vehicle maintenance supervisors.

Charlie Salter, a veteran truck driver for FedEx Freight’s terminal near Montgomery, won Alabama’s State Truck Driving Championships’ Overall Champion Award, which is sponsored by Southland International Trucks. He and other class winners will make the trip to Orlando later this summer.

Those drivers are Robert Davis of FedEx Freight (Step Van); Ross Garner, FedEx Freight (Tanker); Mike Manzella, Walmart Transportation (Flatbed); William Downs, FedEx Freight (Twins); Steve Brannen, Walmart Transportation (4-axle); Daniel Thompson, FedEx Freight (3-axle); David Hawk, FedEx Freight (Straight); and Rodney Cosper, UPS Freight (Sleeper). Meanwhile, William Cousins of FedEx Ground posted the highest score in the Vehicle Defects portion of the contest, and Brandon Bunt of AAA Cooper Transportation earned the award for the highest scoring Rookie.