Jeff Crissey

18 for 3.5 million

Jeff Untitled 1America’s Road Team captains represent the best of the best


For better or worse, the people behind the wheel of your trucks are the face of your company – the ones seen by your customers at loading docks and by the motorists and other truck drivers on the road. How they conduct themselves – whether they’re safe, courteous and professional or menaces on the road – says a lot about your company and the trucking industry as a whole.

Promoting professionalism in our industry is crucial to winning over public perception and enticing people to consider careers in trucking. Last month, I had the pleasure to tag along with the newly appointed captains of America’s Road Team – the American Trucking Associations’ public image program developed to educate the public about our proud industry and highway safety – to Roanoke, Va., and got a sense of just how impactful such an industry outreach program can be.

The 18 captains chosen represent the finest drivers and people our industry has to offer. They were selected based on industry knowledge, communication skills and safety records. Combined, the group has 483 years of driving experience and more than 36.5 million accident-free miles. They will serve a two-year term as ambassadors for the industry’s estimated 3.5 million truck drivers, delivering the industry’s message to lawmakers, schools, news media and transportation officials.

“When we hit the road talking about the essentiality of trucking and our safety and environmental efforts, it’s so much more believable and effective when you have people to deliver that message that get up every day and make a living getting behind the wheel of a truck,” says Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer.

At a ceremony at Volvo Trucks North America’s assembly plant in Dublin, Va., the truck manufacturer continued its generous support of America’s Road Team. Ron Huibers, Volvo’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, and Patrick Collignon, general manager of Volvo’s Dublin plant, turned over the keys to a new Volvo VN 780 to Graves and Barbara Windsor, ATA chairman and president and CEO of Hahn Transportation, New Market, Md.

“Highway safety demands the best from our drivers and the best from our trucks,” said Huibers at the ceremony. “We are excited to put Volvo’s proven safety technologies into the hands of the skilled and passionate drivers of America’s Road Team.”

The VN 780 donated to the America’s Road Team represents some of the latest safety technologies available to help the captains deliver the message of truck safety: a fully electronic stability program from Bendix that helps drivers maintain vehicle control during emergency maneuvers; collision avoidance technology; and an intelligent transmission system designed to boost productivity and reduce fatigue. In addition, the truck’s selective catalytic reduction technology allows captains to deliver an environmental message about how the trucking industry is improving on particulate emissions.

As Compliance Safety Accountability’s (CSA) safety measurement system ultimately turns unsafe drivers into nonhirable ones, the bar will be raised in terms of driver quality and safety. New tractor and trailer technology improves the safety of commercial vehicles regardless of who’s behind the wheel. It’s our industry’s job to carry the message of truck technology and driver safety to the public. We are, after all, in this together. Programs like ATA’s America’s Road Team not only should be applauded, they should be emulated.

To meet America’s Road Team and learn more about the program, go to www.ccjdigital.com and check out our FleetSpeak video series. Smartphone users can follow the instructions to the right and scan the Mobi Tag to see the video on their mobile device.

 

Jeff Crissey is Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal.

E-mail jcrissey@ccjmagazine.com or call (205) 248-1244.