Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Professional truck drivers see a lot of interesting things on the road. Take, for example, Shelly York of North Little Rock, Arkansas, who drives for ABF Freight System, Inc., of Fort Smith, Arkansas. When he came across an unusual situation involving a young boy, his response was brought to the attention of the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). York is now TCA’s latest Highway Angel.
On April 5, 2013, at about 4 p.m., York was driving northbound on Smokey Lane near the ABF terminal in North Little Rock. Ahead, he saw something that looked like debris fall out of the back of a pickup truck. However, as he got closer, he recalls his shock as he “looked over and said to myself, ‘That’s a kid!’”
Apparently, the 8- or 9-year-old boy had run behind the pickup and attempted to hoist himself onto it. He was unable to hold on and fell off, striking his head and back on the asphalt. He now lay on the road, twisted in pain. Because of the way he was positioned, the child looked more like an inanimate object than a human being, so York feared that oncoming traffic might unknowingly hit him.
York immediately put on his flashers and used his truck to protect the boy from oncoming vehicles. He then went to the other lane of traffic and rerouted vehicles away from the area. He remained on the scene until emergency responders arrived and took over.
"In the past, I’ve helped folks who have had car trouble, but I’ve never had anything like this!" says York, who has been driving for about 40 years.
For stopping to help the child, York has received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch. ABF Freight System, Inc., also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.
"We thank our remarkable team of drivers for their continued commitment to safety and congratulate all on their participation in this competition," said Jeff Rogers, president of YRC Freight. "We are dedicated to serving our customers, delivering confidence with every shipment, every day. As demonstrated by the number of drivers competing in the American Trucking Associations' National Truck Driving Championships, we are an organization Powered by Professionals and take pride in everything we do."
To qualify for the national championships, drivers must place first in their respective class at state competition. Both the state and national competitions include challenging driving skills and maneuvering tests, a pre-trip inspection, and a written examination covering vehicle operation and federal safety regulations. To participate, drivers must be accident-free, regardless of fault, for one year and through the national championships.
The NTDC and affiliated state TDCs are considered one of the industry's largest and most effective safety programs. Known to many as the "Super Bowl of Safety," these annual competitions inspire tens of thousands of drivers to operate accident-free for the right to compete.
The YRC Freight team of qualifiers for the 2013 National Truck Driving Championships:
“These drivers are part of a team dedicated to safe driving and devoted to upholding the highest standards of professionalism,” said ABF President and CEO Roy Slagle. “The great reputation ABF enjoys as a safe and reliable carrier is a reflection of the drive and dedication of these outstanding employees.”
Representing ABF at the 2013 national competition will be a father/son team, Travis Gibson, who won rookie of the year honors, and John R. Gibson of West Virginia. This is the first time ABF has been represented by father/son champions. They will be joined by Steve Smalley, Arizona; Loren Hatfield (grand champion), Arkansas; Tony Spero, Connecticut; Tim Melody (grand champion) and Scott Scheuffele, Idaho; Don Nichols, Maryland; Chuck Colin (grand champion), Minnesota; Ed Beins (grand champion), Nebraska; Gerald Benavidez, Michael Contreras, Charlie Estrada, Ralph Garcia and Ricky Lucas, New Mexico; Allen McNeely, North Carolina; John M. Davis, Virginia; and Tom Martin, John Dill and Andrew Walston (grand champion), Wyoming.
The National Truck Driving Championships is hosted each year by the American Trucking Associations. Dating to 1937 when it was known as the National Truck Roadeo, the competition is now known informally as the "Super Bowl of Safety."
Rochester, N.Y. reached its one-year milestone on June 21. Springfield, Mass. promptly followed on June 25. Then Buffalo, N.Y. hit their mark on June 28. A total of over 145 employees across these three terminals were honored for their commitment to safety and are receiving commemorative jackets citing the safety record, their terminal name and state. These safety successes were earned during a year filled with blizzards, floods and severe weather making a safety record even more impressive.
“We are incredibly proud of these safety commitments,” said Steve Gast, New Penn President. “Safety is second-to-none. To be able to encompass an entire year injury-free is truly an incredible accomplishment. These successes come from having the very best and safest employees in the industry as well as a corporate culture that places safety as Number One. We thank all of the New Penn employees in Rochester, Springfield and Buffalo for giving their best, day in and day out, to make New Penn the leader in safety, quality handling, on-time performance and next-day delivery.”
“This safety milestone is a result of everyone working together,” said Wayne Waldron, Springfield Terminal Manager. “We advocate safety daily. Our drivers and dockworkers bring safety to the forefront so everyone stays safe and healthy. Each day we ask them to consider their own well-being as well as the health of others. Our employees show the same level of care they would want others to show to keep everyone’s families safe. It’s these safe working practices that enable us to meet our industry-leading service commitments for our customers and safely return home to our families after every shift. That’s what it’s all about.”
Four other New Penn facilities have also celebrated their one-year milestones in the past year. New Penn officers credit ongoing safety initiatives, training programs, employee commitment and workplace policies as reasons for ongoing success. Programs consist of training videos, sophisticated weather and roadway monitoring technologies, regular safety meetings and more.