Nearly 100 Alabama-based professional truck drivers, representing two dozen trucking firms competed 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 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.