COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The National Truck Driving and Step Van Driving Championships will run through Saturday night, and drivers coming from 49 states are competing to be crowned the grand champion.
“It’s to celebrate safety and the professionalism of these men and women, that they do this every day. The unsung heroes of the highway that keep us all moving,” said Rodney Myers, the chairman.
All of the drivers who plan on competing must take three tests: a written exam, timed truck inspection and driving skills test.
“We’re trying to stay as far away from things, so we don’t wreck into them versus, here you are trying to get close, it’s precision. The closer you get to an obstacle, the more points you get,” said Russell Simpson, a professional truck driver who has been driving a truck for 37 years and competing for six.
Competitors are also tasked with getting as close as possible to a rubber duck and maneuvering into narrow gates. Although the competition is important, the truck drivers said they care about being safe on the roads for themselves and other drivers.
“It really hones our skills because you have to go a year without an accident to even be eligible for this so that kind of makes you be a defensive driver,” Simpson said. “You want to stay away from anything on the road that can take you out of this competition.”
Of the more than 400 drivers competing, only one will be crowned the grand champion — on Saturday night at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.