A public safety outreach program from ATA’s Safety and Maintenance Management Council
Alabama’s Road Team was established in 2000 by the Alabama Trucking Association to serve as a public education program to address highway safety within the trucking industry and to educate the motoring public on how to drive near large commercial vehicles. Our Road Team is composed of professional drivers selected for an outstanding safety record and an ability to communicate with audiences from many different walks of life. These individuals are ambassadors for the trucking industry and take a few days each month away from their regular driving duties to speak to civic organizations, classrooms, businesses and media. The Alabama Road Team is a free service to the public and available upon request to any group needing a speaker to inform or entertain. Presentations include Share the Road demonstrations, driver safety, industry promotion, and a variety of other topics. For more information, contact Tim Frazier at 334-834-3983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the Road Team
UPS Freight Trussville, Ala. UPS Freight driver Rodney Cosper began driving trucks in 1990, and has received numerous awards and recognitions for professionalism from his employer and other industry organizations. He joined the Road Team in April 2014. His passion for workplace and highway safety is infectious. A father of two teenage boys, Cosper knows the many distractions young drivers face — everything from digital devices to vehicle passengers and others on the road. He says he is excited to be a member of the Road Team so that he can that he can continue to teach other youths about responsible driving. “I take a lot of pride that I taught my oldest how to drive and be a safe and courteous driver,” he says. Cosper says he’s had a great career in trucking and wants everyone to understand and respect what trucking provides for the community. “Without our industry’s contribution to the economy, folks would not have the essential things they need to live,” he says.
UPS Freight Odenville, Ala. Another new Team member, Rusty Holmes has worked with UPS for more than 25 years, logging more than 1.5 million miles for the company’s facility in Trussville, Ala. In his three decades with UPS, he’s been honored for outstanding professionalism and safety by his employer; the Alabama Trucking Association; and the National Safety Council. He also serves on his terminal’s safety board and trains new hires on workplace and highway safety and industry best practices. Holmes is an extremely skillful driver. Interestingly, he has competed at the Alabama Trucking Association’s state Truck Driving Championships 10-straight years, winning his division in 2004, 2009 and 2014, and thus earning the right to represent the state at the National Trucking Driving Championships. “I love what I do for a living,” he says. “Driving a truck for a really great company has allowed me to provide for my family. I know firsthand the many opportunities trucking offers, and I want to share that with young people.” “I’m so proud to serve on the team,” he says. “Representing the state trucking industry is an honor. I want to do all I can to make our roads safer. If anything I do with this program saves one life then all the training and time spent will be well worth it.”
FedEx Freight Mobile, Ala. Dan Thompson is a 35-year veteran truck driver based in Spanish Fort, Ala. He drives for FedEx Freight’s terminal in Theodore, Ala., which is located a few miles south of Mobile. Thompson has been with the company for 28 years and handles a daily route to Birmingham and back. In his 1.8-million miles on the road, he has never had an accident. He has pulled a myriad of rigs during his career, including flatbed, dry van, twin trailers, hazmat, and even school buses. He is a diverse and crossed trained driver, and his knowledge of the transportation industry is a reflection of his vast experience. Like other Road Team members, Dan has had plenty of success at the Alabama Truck Driving Championships. Last June he was the overall high scorer at the event to earn the 2016 Grand Champion title. He’s a been a regular at the national competing there in 2016, 2015, 2013 and 2011 He is also a man of many talents and interests outside of trucking. He’s a coach for a local elementary school chess club, and a self-described “health nut” who enjoys road biking, kayaking and flyfishing. “Safety is never an afterthought for me,” he says. “The public is counting on me to drive safely under any condition or circumstance; my family is counting on me to return home safely each evening, and my employer and co-workers are counting on me to protect their image. I cannot let any of them down – that’s been my mission my entire career. I now have an opportunity to showcase the trucking industry’s efforts in safety and professionalism.”
TCW, Inc. Birmingham, Ala. For newest Alabama Road Team Captain Lloyd Howell there’s no other job he’d rather have than driving a truck. From the first time he sat behind the wheel of one, he knew driving for a living was what he wanted to do. He loves the freedom of the open road, the machinery, and the opportunity to meet new people. “Every day is different – it’s never the same thing twice,” he says. The 50-year-old driver for TCW, Inc.’s Birmingham terminal has worked in trucking for 21 years, starting with Birmingham Budweiser as a driver helper making local deliveries and eventually moving into the driver’s seat after teaching himself how to drive a truck. “I just kept hinting around to my supervisor that I wanted to drive,” Howell says. “One day, he pointed to an empty truck on the yard and told me start learning how. Trouble was it was an old 10 speed with a splitter, so it took me a little while. I spent a lot of time just driving circles on the yard until I got the hang of it.” But after few weeks of training, practice and study, he told his supervisor he was ready to sit for his CDL exam. “As soon as I came back with my new CDL, they put me in a truck. I’ve been at it ever since.” In 2009, he signed on with his current employer, TCW, as a full-time driver. As with Sysco, his supervisors soon realized his leadership abilities and commitment to a steadfast adherence to the rules of the road and work place safety. Company mangers asked him to serve as a “Master Coach” for the fleet. Drivers call him with questions and suggestions – or they may just need an outlet to vent their concerns. Those leadership qualities were exactly what led to his nomination to Alabama’s Road Team. TCW Vice President of Business Development Gary Cornelius told Howell about the Road Team and encouraged him to apply. At the time, there wasn’t an opening, but Howell says he “pestered” ATA Director of Safety Tim Frazier for a spot. “There are only four road team captains at any given time, so I knew an opening didn’t happen often,” Howell said. “I just kept contact with Mr. Frazier and finally got my chance to interview last fall.” Since then, Howell, like all Road Team members, has received one-on-one training from a public speaking coach. He has also brushed up on his knowledge of the Share The Road program and other highway safety initiatives that he will present to schools and other organizations. He has also shadowed other team members at their presentations and other functions just to get a feel for the process. He says he’s ready to get out and share his message of highway safety and expects to be out in deliver his first presentation in this spring. “One thing that has served me well since I started driving a truck is that truly care about what I’m doing,” he says. “I care about my job, my employer, my coworkers, and, most importantly, my family. I want to do be as safe as possible when I’m driving. I think of myself as driver in a bubble. And what that means is, regardless of what going on around me, I’m going to make sure I’m doing all I can to make those around me are safe. It doesn’t matter to me if someone is driving too fast or aggressively, I’m going to do what I need to do to make sure that person gets home to their family in one piece. That’s all I want.”