At Bryant Surety Bonds, we consider ourselves to be professionals in the field of surety bonds and all the other industries which require bonding. This is why we not only offer freight broker bonding services, but we also keep track of all the meaningful events that may concern truckers.
In this train of thought, last week, August 13th – 16th, the 77th annual National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC) and National Step Van Driving Championships took place in Pittsburgh. More than 400 of USA’s most-renowned professional drivers competed head to head for the prestigious trucking title—the Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion.
What Is the National Truck Driving Championship (NTDC)?
The National Truck Driving Championship (NTDC), also known as the “Super Bowl of Safety,” attracts an audience of over 2,000 fans and 400 competitors from all over the country, every year.
The NTDC first started in 1937, and it has been hosted by the American Trucking Association each year ever since. Back in the day, it was called the National Truck Rodeo. Just as it did then, the competition today also represents the longstanding tradition of rewarding the drivers with the biggest commitment to safety and professionalism.
The event itself is considered to be one of the most influential safety programs of the industry, not only because it showcases drivers’ skills of safe parking, driving and knowledge of highway safety, but it also requires all contestants to have been accident-free for at least one year prior to competing.
This year, cumulatively, the contestants have driven 653,677,080 accident-free miles.
What Does It Take to Be a Part of the National Truck Driving Championship?
At the 44th annual NTDC, there were 426 competitors, including 23 first-time participants and 11 women. These were the state champions in nine truck types from all 50 states, which is one of the most important prerequisites to qualify for the Championship. Each contestant must first be a winner either from one of the 50 State Trucking Associations’ Truck Driving Championships (TDC) or from an auto transporters class at the regional TDCs.
The categories in which drivers can compete on a state level are Straight Truck, Three-Axle Tractor-Semitrailer, Four-Axle Tractor-Semitrailer, Five-Axle Tractor-Semitrailer (Tank), Five-Axle Tractor-Semitrailer (Van), Five-Axle Tractor-Semitrailer (Flatbed), Five-Axle Tractor (Sleeper Cab)-Semitrailer (Van) and Twin Trailers. A win in any of these categories will get you one step closer to the NTDC.
As already mentioned, all NTDC contestants must have been accident-free for at least one year prior to the competition, regardless of fault. Also, drivers must maintain continuous employment with a motor carrier fleet for a continuous period of at least one year prior to the competition.
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Who Won the 2014 National Truck Driving Championship?
- Grand Champion: This year’s winner of the Bendix 2014 grand championship at the NTDC is Jeffrey Langenhahn. He is a driver for Con-way Freight and comes from Plover, Wisconsin. According to the American Truck Association, Langenhahn has been a driver for the past 28 years with 1.9 million miles behind the wheel. He also won first place in the Twins division.
- Step Van Driving Champion: Christopher Shaw is this year’s first prize winner at the Step Van Driving competition. He is a FedEx driver from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He described his win as “just amazing,” but he never took it for a sure thing during the competition, saying “I thought I had a chance, however, you never know how the other guys did and we had a gal in my class this year.”
- Four-Axle Champion: James Quarles won the 2014 Four-Axle competition. He is 42, lives in South Carolina and works for Wal-Mart Transportation LLC (Laurens, S.C.). Quarles is away from home six days a week driving a sleeper truck for Wal-Mart. He has competed for seven years at the state level for the Wal-Mart organization. Quarles says he competes to stay on top of his game and to perfect his driving skills.
The list of winners goes on and on. If you have something interesting to say about them or the 2014 NTDC, leave a comment below!