NPTC inducts four into Driver Hall of Fame

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Four truck drivers who have logged more than a combined 147 years and 17 million miles of safe driving were honored by the National Private Truck Council and inducted into the NPTC Driver Hall of Fame during the NPTC Annual Education Management Conference and Exhibition held April 27-29 in Cincinnati.

The drivers are from NPTC member companies and have met the minimum qualifications of 20 years, two million miles or 50,000 hours of driving without a preventable accident. Many of the drivers have far exceeded these qualifications and are known for having made significant contributions to their industry and their communities. Since its inception, 88 drivers have been installed in the Driver Hall of Fame.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees are:

  • George L. Ertel, Batesville Casket Co., Batesville, Ind.: For Ertel’s entire 41-year career, which spans 4.9 million miles, he has been employed by the Batesville Casket Co. While always willing to tackle other assignments as needed, his average week consists of 60-65 hours and 2,500 miles behind the wheel. In all his time driving, his only accidents involved hitting two deer and having two drivers backing into him – all nonpreventable accidents. Trucking is in his blood: His father drove a truck for 23 years, and his son has been driving for Batesville Casket Co. for 14 years.
  • James B. Perkins, Trimac Transportation Inc., Braddock, Pa.: Perkins has accumulated four million miles without an accident or a moving violation in 36 years as a professional truck driver. For the last eight years and 720,000 safe-driving miles, he has been hauling liquid oxygen for Trimac. He averages 1,800 miles a 65-hour work week. A driver trainer, he sits on Trimac’s Core Team, which is a group of four drivers that help facilitate communication between the drivers and upper management. He also is a member of the Trimac team that meets to discuss how to improve safety performance. He began driving following an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force in 1966.
  • Tommy E. Stoddard, Vanguard Services, assigned to Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, Memphis, Tenn.: Since beginning his truck-driving career in 1972, Stoddard has accrued 3.75 million miles with no preventable accidents on his record. He was assigned to Bridgestone Firestone in 1980 and has a total 3.25 million miles of hauling tires and auto parts for the company. Currently driving about 2,800 miles per week, he runs a nightly shuttle from Memphis to Nashville, with several drop and hooks along the way.
  • Kenneth R. Wright, NCI Building Systems Inc., Houston: In his 36 years behind the wheel, Wright has accumulated a total of 4.4 million miles without an accident. For the last 26 years, Wright has hauled metal building components in an over-the-road operation for NCI Group Inc. Typically driving 400 miles in each eight-hour shift, he has accumulated 2.6 million miles – all of them accident-free – with the company. His routes include driving from Houston to northeastern Texas, southern Louisiana and San Antonio.