Practicing Safe Driving Made Him a True Champion


The 2010 California Truck Driving Championship has recently concluded and Alfonso Z. Saavedra was hailed as the best professional truck driver in California.

June 10, 2010 was probably the best day in Saavedra 's life as he won first place in his division of the said driving championship. A driver for Con-way Freight trucking in Salinas, Saavedra received the highest overall score of any contestant. He earned the title of California's champion truck driver, after he drove a triple-axle freight truck through courses designed to test the drivers' agility and attention to detail, and successfully completing a written examination on safety in the trucking industry.

The recently concluded competition was previously known as the "National Truck Rodeo." It debuted in 1937 as a way to promote driver awareness and safety. To this day the rule book stays faithful to its roots. One must be accident-free for a year preceding the competition for them to compete.

According to Jason Mora, a service center manager at Con-way freight, Saavedra is an 800,000-mile driver. Mora said, "He's been safe now for about 10 years, and it's an incredible accomplishment to drive that many miles without an accident."

Saavedra said, "I like to compete... I want to win. I'm up for the challenge." He loves the healthy competition but is adamant that safety comes first. According to him, "Being safe doesn't cost anything." With this, it is not surprising for Saavedra to achieve 800,000 accident-free miles.

Saavedra is not new to winning championships and awards. A year after he started in the trucking industry, in 200, he won the "Rookie of the Year" award at the national championships. And he's placed first seven times in the regional competition, since then.

American Trucking Associations,'s Truck Driving Championships include top professional truck drivers from around the nation. Drivers compete with each other at state and regional levels to make it to the national competition which will be held this year on Aug. 3-7 in Columbus, Ohio. The NTDC draws over 2,000 cheering friends, family, colleagues, and spectators, annually .

Saavedra is now eligible to compete on August 3-7, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio for the American Trucking Associations' National Truck Driving Championships (A.K.A. the "Super Bowl of Safety"). He said that he is not nervous about the upcoming national championships, spoken like a true champion ready to snag the $1,000 prize, a trophy, and a gold belt buckle.

Around 400 drivers from all 50 states will compete in Columbus for four days. This is an event where drivers challenge their driving skills and show their knowledge on safety, equipment, and the industry. Drivers will go through a course that replicates situations truck drivers face daily. The challenge may include maneuvers like: a straight line driving through a diminishing clearance, an alley dock, a side park, a right turn, a scale stop, a rear line stop, and a front line stop. Drivers will go through these challenges using motor vehicles from 18-wheeler five axle sleepers to tank trucks to twin trailers.

The American Trucking Associations together with the California Trucking Association, leads the effort for safer highways, concentrating on greater education, enforcement and enhancement of traffic safety laws for all drivers. ATA also supports the reinstatement of a national maximum speed limit of 65 mph for all vehicles. A move to support slowing down of traffic and limiting truck speeds at the time of manufacture.