NTDC gets underway

Trucking’s ‘Super Bowl of Safety’ heads into the driving segment Friday
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – More than 400 of the trucking industry’s best drivers – 427 men and women from all across the country – are putting their knowledge of the industry, safe driving ability and vehicle readiness awareness to the test to see who will emerge as the 2019 National Truck Driving Champion.
The driving portion of the 82nd annual NTDC and Step Van Driving Championships got underway Thursday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center here.
“There is a lot of energy and competitive spirit in Pittsburgh this week as we sort through a strong field of competitors to crown a grand champion,” said ATA Chairman Barry Pottle, president of Pottle’s Transportation. “It is a testament to the entire trucking workforce that hundreds of truck drivers were more than willing to put in thousands of hours of driving practice and study in order to compete for the grand champion crown. We can’t wait to see which drivers, companies and states emerge as champions on Saturday night and are thankful for all the effort that has gone into setting up this fun and friendly competition.”
The actual competition began Wednesday when drivers were escorted onto the course for a timed walkthrough in which they saw the driving problems for the first time. Competitors also sat down for a written examination, which is one of the three scored phases of competition. Over the next two days, competitors will take part in a vehicle pre-trip inspection to test the drivers’ ability to detect vehicle malfunctions and a driving skills test where competitors are graded on their ability to operate a truck through a series of obstacles. The first round of competition wraps up Friday afternoon. 
Finalists for the championship round are announced Saturday morning. After the five finalists in each of the eight vehicle classes and one step van class are announced, the finalists will compete on a championship course to determine the nine class national champions and overall 2019 Bendix Grand Champion, who will be announced Saturday night. 
There are 32 rookies in the field, drivers competing at any level of the TDC for the first time.
Before competition kicked off Thursday, the American Trucking Associations hosted the Breakfast of Champions for competitors and their families. Competitors heard from ATA President and CEO Chris Spear, Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Ray Martinez, ATA First Vice Chairman Randy Guillot and 2018 NTDC Grand Champion Scott Woodrome, a professional truck driver for FedEx Freight.
Fans are also encouraged to follow the competition online by tracking the #NTDC2019 hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. ATA is posting Facebook Live video streams of various stages of the competition including a course walkthrough, announcement of finalists, and the announcement of awards Saturday evening.

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