“This is an important moment for the trucking industry,” said Lance Craig, chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association, during the March 7 general session of the 67th TCA Convention.
Not since the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, had so many TCA members attended the annual convention, Craig said. This year, 1,800 members registered for the event, held at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
Since the assumption of “safety first” policies by TCA five years ago, fatalities in trucking accidents have declined while miles driven have increased significantly, Craig said.
“Comparatively, truckers are the only individual group of drivers whose safety index has lately improved,” Craig said, citing a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This development has made insurance deductibles “come way down,” Craig said.
The chairman also recognized some problems in the industry, saying that in the past year, financial difficulties have caused thousands of carriers to leave the business.
Craig also cited ongoing issues such as retention and recruiting and efforts to increase driver quality and driver pay.
Craig is president of Ohio-based Craig Transportation, which specializes in retail deliveries. His remarks were preceded by a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by singer Bruce Williamson.
Later in the general session, Frank Bove, president of United Cartage Co., received the Past Chairman Award. It was presented by Clifton Parker, the immediate past chairman of TCA.
Ray Haight, chairman of the Professional Truck Driver Institute, presented the institute’s Lee Crittenden Award in absentia to certification specialist Herb Fotheringham of North Carolina, who was unable to attend the convention.
The final speaker at the general session was legendary Miami Dolphins football coach Don Shula, whose NFL achievements broke many records. Shula focused his speech on his inspirational book Everyone Is a Coach, co-written with Ken Blanchard of The One Minute Manager fame.