Tuesday, August 9, 2011

US Freight Truck And Van Drivers Step Up

2011 Driving Championships Begin Today
Shipping News Feature

US - The 2011 National Truck Driving & National Step Van Driving Championships start today in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida sponsored as usual by the American Trucking Associations (ATA). The NTDC and NSVDC contestants are state champions from all 50 states. States send winners from each class of competition – from 18-wheeled five-axle sleepers to tank trucks to twin trailers to straight trucks – eight competing classes in all with an affiliated competition for step vans. The 19th annual North American Inspectors Championship will again take place alongside the Championships in Orlando which will doubtless be attended by freight and road haulage interests from all over the country, the events annually attract over 2,000 cheering friends, family, colleagues and spectators.

Drivers will compete for four days, challenging their driving skills, and knowledge of safety, equipment and the industry. ATA’s President and CEO Bill Graves will kick-off the first day of driving, Thursday, with the ceremonial Breakfast of Champions. Drivers then head to the competition course, which recreates real world obstacles that drivers encounter daily, such as an alley dock, a rear and/or front line stop, a scales stop, a right or left turn, parallel parking, or straight line driving through a diminishing clearance. Five classes will drive Thursday and four classes will take to the obstacle course Friday.

ATA’s Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships include top professional truck drivers from around the nation competing at state and regional levels to make it to the national competition. The NTDC and NSVDC annually attract over 2,000 cheering friends, family, colleagues and spectators. Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC is the first-time sponsor of the Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion Award.

Eventually Saturday will witness the crowning of a new National Grand Champion professional truck driver, individual champions in each class, and a state champion team but it should be pointed out that ‘step van’ is in fact a bit of a misnomer, the phrase has become a catch all for the ubiquitous walk through van body type but can only correctly be applied to the Chevrolet model which originally boasted the name.

Photo: A 1953 Grumman Olson bodied Chevy step van unlikely to be seen at the event.