Truck drivers and inspectors celebrated at national championships

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From FastLane, The Official Blog of DOT Secretary, Ray LaHood

Commercial drivers and the inspectors who help keep their vehicles properly maintained play a critical role in keeping our roadways safe. And last week, the best inspectors and drivers from across the country gathered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to show off their skills and engage in a little friendly competition.

FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro was on hand for the 2012 Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's North American Inspectors Championship (NAIC), where fifty roadside inspectors from across the U.S. and Canada turned out to compete against each other by inspecting hazmat vehicles, passenger buses, and cargo haulers.

Christopher Smithen, a certified inspector from the Nevada Highway Patrol, was this year's big winner of the Grand Champion Award for his exemplary performance at the event.

As Administrator Ferro said, "The NAIC is a great opportunity to recognize the top safety inspectors from across the country who are working to save lives on our roadways every day."  
Following the Inspectors Championship, attention in the Minneapolis Convention Center turned to some of America's best commercial drivers.  The National Truck Driving Championships, also known as the "Super Bowl of Safety," challenge competitors' driving skills and knowledge of safety, equipment, and the trucking industry. This year, the American Trucking Association event celebrated its 75th anniversary.

Over 400 drivers from across the country competed over four days in events that ranged from an obstacle course recreating several real-world scenarios drivers have to deal with to a written exam on safety, security, and first aid.

But at the end of the day, Don Logan, a FedEx Freight driver from Topeka, Kansas, was named the 2012 Grand Champion. And with 25 years of professional driving experience and over 2.1 million miles traveled, it's no wonder he was up to the challenge.

My congratulations go out to all of this year's winners. And I'm grateful to all of the commercial drivers and inspectors who are committed to safety and professionalism each and every day they’re out there on the road.