Alphonso “Al” Lewis, a Roadway professional truck driver based in Montgomery, Ala., was named the 2007 National Truck Driving Grand Champion. Lewis’ driving skills and knowledge of transportation and truck safety information topped those of 377 other drivers from all across the United States in the National Truck Driving Championships, held in Minneapolis Aug. 21-25.
The 70th annual “Super Bowl of Safety” was sponsored by the American Trucking Associations. The contestants were the state champions (in eight truck types) from all 50 states. Collectively, they have driven more than a half-billion accident-free miles. En route to his title, Lewis has logged 21 accident- and injury-free years as a driver. Lewis is the first African-American winner in the 70-year history of the Championships.
In their respective classes, drivers tested their expertise in the driving skills they use daily. The competition course inside the Minneapolis Convention Center challenged their knowledge of safety, equipment and the industry. The skills course tested drivers’ ability to judge distances, maneuver tight spaces, reverse, park and position their vehicles exactly over scales, before barriers or around curves.
Lewis also won the individual Four-Axle truck driving competition. Joining Lewis as champions in their respective classes:
Lewis succeeds Duncan as the National Grand Champion, who himself won this year’s Tank Truck division.
Jason Matte, a five-axle driver for FedEx Freight from Pearl, Miss., was named 2007 Rookie of the Year. Matte, who has been a professional truck driver for nine years and has more than 700,000 accident-free miles, was also the 2007 Mississippi Truck Driving Championships Rookie of the Year.
The Arizona state truck driving championship team won honors as the highest scoring state team, followed by Washington and South Dakota, respectively.