Special Coverage of the National Truck Driving Championships

NTDC, Inspectors Tournaments Kick Off in Indy

Indiana Convention Center is the site for the National Truck Driving Championships, which were first held in 1937. (icclos.com)

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August, typically a time for vacations or just a little bit of respite, will offer no such things for the qualifiers of this week’s National Truck Driving & Step Van Driving Championships in Indianapolis.

More than 400 women and men representing firms such as UPS Inc., FedEx Corp. and Walmart Inc., will test their skills in a trucking tournament referred to as the “Super Bowl of Safety.”

Drivers will compete in nine vehicle classes: step van, straight truck, flatbed, twin trailers, tanker, sleeper berth, 5-axle, 4-axle and 3-axle. Competitors who collect the most total points in three disciplines — a written test, pre-trip inspections and driving course — will earn top honors in their classes. The top performer overall is named grand champion.

NTDC begins Aug. 16 with registrations, followed by a series of introductions featuring the event’s leadership and a walkthrough of the course.

In the afternoon, competitors will take part in their first challenge: An exam based on the latest edition of the Facts for Drivers guidebook.

During the next two days, Aug. 17-18, competitors will be tested in pre-trip inspections and on a safety driving course. The top five performers in each vehicle class advance to the finals on Aug. 19.



Jacob Pierce, the event’s executive director with American Trucking Associations, recommends participants adhere to directions and focus on their challenges during competition.

“Winning a championship at nationals is really, there’s a fine line between being in the top five to even qualify for the finals, and then being six below. Focus. And you [got to] be focused. You [got to] rely on everything you studied and all the practice you put in before nationals and prepare,” Pierce said in a recent interview with Transport Topics.

On Aug. 19, after wrapping up days of competition, participants will parade in the morning for the “Walk of Champions.”

“The ‘Walk of Champions’ recognizes every single driver that’s committed to this safety program and is a state champion,” Pierce explained. “Every single one of those drivers is a state champion. Every single one has been accident-free for 12 months.”

After organizers announce the finalists, the drivers will compete on a newly designed course to determine the best of the best. Vehicle class winners, as well as the grand champion, will be announced during an evening ceremony.

“It’s an honor to actually even just compete in nationals,” Pierce observed. “Just being at nationals is a privilege.”


The 2022 National Truck Driving Championships

Photos: NTDC | Road to NTDC | Contestants | Map of State Champions

Who: Winners from nine categories at the state level who have advanced to the national competition, where a Grand Champion will be crowned

What: Contestants are judged on a written exam, pre-trip inspection and driving skills

When: Aug. 16-19

Where: Indianapolis

NTDC returned for its 85th anniversary after a two-year hiatus prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Competitors, their families, industry stakeholders and the NTDC community have welcomed its return.

“We’re excited. This is the first time that we’ve been away from NTDC since World War II. Everybody is pumped to get back in competition and celebrate the drivers and celebrate their achievements,” Pierce said. “We’re trying to make sure that it’s the same program, the same competition that all the drivers in the past years returning remember.”

Concurrent with NTDC will be the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s North American Inspectors Championship. The event recognizes professionalism among commercial motor vehicle inspectors from jurisdictions throughout North America.

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