Have you ever attended the annual National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC)? If so, then I’m sure you’ll agree: It’s a blast!
You see men and women, their nerves like steel, maneuvering big rigs with astonishing precision. You observe hundreds of drivers who live and breathe professionalism. You witness the spirit and fellowship that make our industry special.
The competition is sponsored by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), which hosts the 85th installment Aug. 16-19, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana. This showcase of all-stars brings together the winners from 50 state trucking associations’ truck driving championships. To qualify, each competitor must drive accident-free for at least one year prior to the event. Many of these tractor titans have notched millions of accident-free driving miles.
These state champs will go head-to-head on written exams, pre-trip inspection tests, and the crowd-pleasing skills-based competition course. They are vying for awards, including the highest honor – the Bendix Grand Champion Award. Like the drivers, safety is in our DNA at Bendix. We’re grateful for the chance to support the NTDC, and this will be our 11th straight year as the Grand Champion award sponsor.
The NTDC shines a deserving spotlight on the drivers who make our industry go. It also underscores a crucial fact: Drivers remain the key to safer roads. There is simply no bigger factor in commercial vehicle and highway safety than the person driving.
Driver assistance technologies are advancing rapidly. But nothing on the road today is remotely close to fully replacing a skilled and alert driver who trains to keep their skills sharp and practices safe driving at all times. This is why we at Bendix work so hard to provide equipment and training that enables them to perform at their best.
Safe driving practices by everyone who shares the highways can help mitigate the number of crashes. When it comes to the big rigs, so can technologies like forward collision mitigation, which are proven to help safe drivers mitigate truck front-leading collisions. And blind spot systems, which can help mitigate sideswipe incidents.
But it can take years or even decades before most of the vehicles on the road are equipped with safety technologies. That’s even with systems like electronic stability control being mandated and truck manufacturers making collision mitigation standard.
All of which is why we still need to focus our industry’s safety efforts on supporting drivers and their skills, along with their understanding of what technologies can do – and just as importantly, can’t do – to help them on the road. It becomes ever more important to prepare and educate drivers on leading-edge safety systems.
At Bendix, we have expanded our driver-focused efforts. These include on-site demonstrations and ride-and-drive training sessions; videos exploring Bendix systems and explaining the in-cab experience at our YouTube channel (youtube.com/user/bendixvideos); and our “Truck Talk with Bendix” podcast’s “Driver Insight Series” collection of episodes. All these resources are designed to help ensure safety systems are used correctly and to their maximum benefit.
Keep in mind that Bendix safety technologies complement safe driving practices. No commercial vehicle safety technology replaces a skilled, alert driver exercising safe driving techniques and proactive, comprehensive driver training. Responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle remains with the driver at all times.
NTDC competitors, we applaud you. You perform a critical job as professional drivers, as mentors to newer drivers, and as industry ambassadors. Good luck in Indianapolis!
Technical and industry insight from OUR experts.
NTSB Most Wanted List Redux
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since the last National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) “Most Wanted List (MWL) was published. A lot has happened, so let's revist it and refresh our memories regarding what’s on the list and potential impacts for our industry.