By Aryn Pittaway
This Opinion piece appears in the Jan. 10 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
I have been a courier for FedEx Express for 11 years, currently based in Fort Worth, Texas. A couple of years ago, I started adding â€œprofessional and safe driverâ€� to my personal profile. Thatâ€™s because something happened that made me realize there was more to my job than just driving around and dropping off boxes and letters. It was the annual truck driving championships, and it is because of them that I am a safer driver.
Iâ€™ve been competing in the truck driving championshipsâ€™ step-van class for more than two years. In most state competitions, the step-van contest was for only a two-year trial period. Likewise, it was never certain if American Trucking Associations would continue to support the step-van championships nationally. Thatâ€™s why I am very pleased by the recent decision to keep the step-van class competing in the National Truck Driving Championships.
Step vans have tremendous potential to make Americaâ€™s roads even safer. More trucks on the road being driven safely means more lives are saved.
Step-van drivers usually are less experienced than tractor-trailer drivers, so this event promotes safety to the truck class needing it the most.
The â€œSuper Bowl of Safetyâ€� â€” as we call the National Truck Driving Championships and the National Step-Van Driving Championships â€” are where the best of the best demonstrate what we do safely day-in and day-out for America. Drivers are evaluated based on a written test, pre-trip truck inspection and a driving skills course. The encouragement and cooperation of companies and organizations have given us the opportunity to take safety to the step-van level.
By sponsoring the national championships, American Trucking Associations gives thousands of drivers the opportunity to show the nation how safe truck drivers can be on the road. Various other organizations do their best to teach everyday drivers the rules of the road as well as how to share the road and keep us all safe.
These objectives and goals are best reached with the involvement of everyone, so including the step-van competition will be a major leap toward encouraging driver safety, injury prevention and, ultimately, fewer driving-related fatalities.
Â© 2010, Transport Topics Publishing Group. All rights reserved.
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