Four drivers were inducted into the National Private Truck Council’s (NPTC) Driver Hall of Fame on Monday during the organization’s 2019 Annual Education Management Conference and Exhibition, on Monday at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
NPTC also recognized more than a dozen carriers for their excellence in safety during the event, which highlights Day 2 of the annual NPTC conference.
The Driver Hall of Fame, sponsored by Lytx, recognizes top drivers for career safety performance. This year’s winners are Dana Alitz, John Deere Shared Services, assigned by CPC Logistics; Joe Choplin, Unifi Manufacturing; Kenneth George, Hy-Vee; and Larry Johnson, Messer.
“If you take their cumulative service to the industry … they have amassed more than 16 million miles of accident-free and violation-free driving,” said Tom Moore, NPTC senior vice president and emcee for the event. “It would mean roughly 67 trips to the moon.”
As he annually does, Moore spends time with the drivers ahead of the event, learning about them and their lives both on the job and off. He then gives NPTC attendees his impressions of each during the ceremony, offering up some humor and insightful nuggets of information about each. Those conversations often lead back to a similar place for each driver.
Throughout the presentations, common themes of taking your time, slowing down, staying focused and being aware of your surroundings populated each of Moore’s presentations.
“They believe in the Golden Rule; they believe in treating others how they want to be treated,” Moore said of his impressions of this year’s inductees. He quickly added, “they drive too slowly for me, but that’s probably what makes them safe and me unsafe.”
Del Lisk, vice president of safety services for Lytx, joined NPTC President and CEO Gary Petty on stage as each inductee was honored.
Alitz has been driving for more than 42 years with more than 4 million miles without an accident. He has been with CPC for 29 years, accumulating 3.2 million of those miles with the company. He has twice been elected to the company’s Driver’s Committee as a driver representative to work with management and drivers on setting policies and discipline.
Choplin has spent the past 31 years with Unifi, amassing 3.1 million miles of accident-and violation-free driving. In his career, he has driven more than 4.2 million miles over a 44-year career with no accidents or moving violations. He is currently hauling a tanker on a 460-mile a day run in North and South Carolina.
George has been driving for 42 years, racking up 3.5 million miles without an accident or moving violation, 2.4 million of those miles have come with Hy-Vee since joining the company in 1990. He started driving on a farm while in high school, eventually moving to livestock.
Johnson is a 41-year driving veteran with 4.1 million miles with no moving violations and only one accident. That incident occurred when he was legally stopped at a red light and was rear-ended by a driver that had fallen asleep. He started driving in high school and began hauling cryogenic liquids in 42-foot tankers in 1986 with BOC Gases. He eventually moved on to Linde (now Messer) and still hauls cryogenic liquids.
Following the induction ceremony, NPTC handed out its 2019 NPTC Fleet Safety Awards, also sponsored by Lytx. These are given each year to private fleet members that have the lowest ratio of accidents per million miles in the past year.
First place: Blain Supply Inc.
Second place: Andeavor Logistics LP
Third place: Hydrite Chemical Company
First place: Orscheln Farm and Home
Second place: VF Jeanswear
Third place: Contract Transportation Systems/The Sherwin-Williams Company
Mixed Operation, Small Fleet (fewer than 50 vehicles)
First place: Metal Exchange Corporation
Second place: Sugar Foods Corporation
Third place: Avery Dennison
Mixed Operation, Large Fleet (50 vehicles or more)
First place: New South Express
Second place: Baxter Healthcare Corporation
Third place: Atlas Trucking Company
Gold Seal Award (Certificate of achievement for a terminal that did not experience a single accident in the previous year)
Hittman Transport Services
The Home Depot
Silver Seal Award (certificate of merit, for a terminal that reduced its accident frequency rate 40 percent or more from the previous year)
Contract Transportation Systems/The Sherwin-Williams Company
Bronze Seal Award (certificate of progress, for a terminal that reduced its accident frequency rate 20 percent to 39 percent from the previous year)
Hittman Transport Services