Three drivers from KLLM Transport Services were among the top award winners at the Mississippi Trucking Association’s 36th annual Truck Driving Championship, held recently in Tupelo. Two drivers were first-place winners who now will advance to the National Truck Driving Championship, to be held this August in New Orleans.
At the Mississippi competition, KLLM drivers Paul Brownlee, Steve Jones and Melvin Johnson won awards in their respective categories. Brownlee, of Calhoun, La., won first place in the four-axle division; Jones, of Monroe, La., won first place in the five-axle division; and Johnson, of Natchez, Miss., placed third in the five-axle sleeper division. Brownlee and Jones will advance.
The driving competition is held to improve safety by promoting, encouraging and rewarding safe, responsible driving practices. During the competition, each driver must complete a written examination to test his/her knowledge of the trucking industry, driving rules, first aid and other key subjects. Field testing is done to measure each driver’s ability to identify safety defects in equipment. Finally, drivers are required to maneuver tractor-trailers through obstacles that test a driver’s ability to operate safely in very close quarters.
More than 100 drivers from companies and transportation carriers across Mississippi participated in the state championship. “The drivers competing in this event were the best Mississippi has to offer,” says Vince Schott, vice president of information services and safety for Richland, Miss.-based KLLM. “Only those drivers with spotless safety records were eligible to compete, and they first had to win their own company’s driving championship to qualify for the state event.”
Also honored by the Mississippi Trucking Association was Ricky Parker, KLLM’s director of safety, who was recognized for his service and commitment to safety practices. “Our company is extremely proud of its drivers and the safety record we have achieved,” says Jim Richards, KLLM’s chief operating officer. “This is important not just to us, but also our customers who rely on getting their loads delivered on time and on schedule.”