Special Coverage of the National Truck Driving Championships
March 27, 2018 4:30 PM, EDT

FedEx’s Courville Wins Top Honors in Louisiana Truck Championships

Louisiana Grand Champion Eric CourvilleFedEx Freight driver Eric Courville (center) took home the grand champion honors at the Louisiana State Truck Driving Championships March 23-24. (John Ballance for Louisiana Motor Transport Association)

Eric Courville, a FedEx Freight driver for more than two decades, took home the grand champion honors at the Louisiana State Truck Driving Championships on March 23-24.

Courville won the 3-axle class and demonstrated overall excellence at the state event, which marked the start of qualifiers for the National Truck Driving Championships in Columbus, Ohio, in August. (Photo gallery)

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Who: Winners from nine categories at the state level advance to the national competition, with a grand champion crowned

What: Contestants are judged on a written examination and their driving skills

When: Aug. 15-18

Where: Columbus, Ohio

Courville has participated at nationals, where elite drivers from every state measure their safety skills.

The winners from the other eight classes in Louisiana also earned a trip to Columbus. They included Leroy Williams of XPO Logistics in the straight truck, Louis Scaruffi of C&S Wholesale Grocers in the 4-axle, Larry Peltier of Martin Brower in the 5-axle, Milton Hebert of FedEx Freight in the tank truck, Joseph Vital of FedEx Freight in flatbed, Damien Hebert of XPO Logistics in the twin trailers, and Chad Rudesill of FedEx Ground in the sleeper berth. The top step van driver was Donald Williams with FedEx Ground.

The Louisiana State Truck Driving Championships were held in Baton Rouge. The competition offered a forum to honor drivers’ commitment to their vocation, said Chance McNeely, executive director of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association.

“This event is about safety in our industry and celebrating drivers,” McNeely told Transport Topics on March 27. “Louisiana is sending a very talented group to nationals this year and we know they will represent Louisiana with pride.”

“We congratulate all of the FedEx drivers who competed and placed at the Louisiana Truck Driving Championships this past weekend,” Ken Frith, FedEx Freight vice president of regional operations, said in a statement to TT. “Our drivers’ participation and performance serve as examples of the FedEx commitment to safety.”

In April, five states will follow Louisiana and host qualifiers for the national tournament. They are South Carolina (April 13-14), Arizona (April 14), Mississippi (April 27-28), Tennessee (April 27-28) and Nevada (April 28). The state competitions consist of a written test and a skills course designed to measure safety proficiency.

To compete at nationals, drivers must earn top spots in one of the nine categories, and prove their employment with a motor carrier fleet for at least a year, as well as remain accident-free for a year prior to the event. The national tournament, often referred to as the “Super Bowl of Safety,” is hosted by American Trucking Associations. The event also features the National Step Van Driving Championships.

“American Trucking Associations’ Safety Management Council’s annual National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships are an enduring testament to the obsessive attention the American trucking industry places on safety,” Brian Lagana, executive director of ATA’s Safety Management Council and Transportation Security Council, said March 28. “The four days of intensive competition, and the 430-plus of the ‘best of the best’ professional truck drivers that will endure the Super Bowl of Safety, epitomize the hundreds of thousands of their colleagues on the roads every day. That they are here today, and accident-free, is a testament to their training, well-honed skills, dedication to their profession, and the trucking industry’s dedication to safety.”

Roland Bolduc, a FedEx Express driver for more than two decades, was last year’s national grand champion. Michael Bills with FedEx Express won the step van class. The contest was in Orlando, Fla.