Paul Phillips, a Con-way Freight driver from Coarsegold, Calif., was named 2011 Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion Aug. 13.
Phillips’ driving skills and knowledge of transportation and truck safety information topped those of 428 other drivers in the championships held in Orlando, Fla.
The 74th annual “Super Bowl of Safety” is sponsored by the American Trucking Associations. Phillips has logged 35 years as a professional truck driver, with more than 1.6 million miles behind the wheel. He began competing in his state truck driving championships in 2004, and this year he made his second trip to the National Truck Driving Championships.
The contestants were state champions in nine truck types from all 50 states; collectively, they have driven more than 595 million accident-free miles. The skills course tested drivers’ ability to judge distances, maneuver tight spaces, reverse, park and position their vehicle exactly over scales, before barriers or around curves.
Phillips also won the individual straight truck driving competition. Joining Phillips as champions in their respective classes:
• Three-Axle: John Hazlett, ABF Freight System Inc., Philadelphia;
• Four-Axle: Gary Harms, Wal-mart Transportation, Olathe, Kan.;
• Five-Axle: Hershel Evans, Holland, Bremen, Ga.;
• Flatbed: Edward Hawkins, Leavitt’s Freight Service, Springfield, Ore.;
• Tank Truck: Leo Flack, A. Duie Pyle Inc., West Chester, Pa.;
• Twins: Jeffrey W. Payne, Reddaway, Cedar City, Utah;
• Sleeper Berth: Joshua Carr, Wal-mart Transportation, McCall, Idaho; and
• Step Van: James Sheehan, FedEx Ground, Hendersonville, Tenn.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.