Gary Plant Named Trucking’s National Driver of the Year

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 15, 2017 — Today, American Trucking Associations' Safety Management Council recognized outstanding trucking leaders at the Safety, Security and Human Resources National Conference and Exhibition in Memphis, Tennessee. Gary Plant, professional truck driver with Walmart Transportation, was honored as trucking's National Driver of the Year.

“Safety is a reward in and off itself, but at ATA we also believe in recognizing the people and organizations who pursue excellence in their approaches to safety,” said ATA President & CEO Chris Spear. “Safety is what defines our industry, and one must look no further than a four million mile accident-free driver or a company that dedicates substantial resources to safety investments, to see that safety is what guides trucking's dedicated professionals every day.”

ATA's National Driver of the Year Award annually recognizes one exceptional driver for significant and career-long professional achievements, holding a stellar safety record, and maintaining dedication to keeping the roads safe. The driver is selected from a pool of exceptional state Drivers of the Year submitted by ATA's affiliated state trucking associations. Each candidates' qualifications are first reviewed by a group of industry safety professional judges. These judges then narrow the field of nominees to a group of finalists who are judged by an impartial panel of Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and law enforcement representatives, who select the award winner.

Plant, who was awarded the 2017 National Driver of the Year trophy on stage in Orlando, Florida at ATA's Management Conference and Exhibition in late October, is in the middle of his 41st year as a professional truck driver. He has driven 4.4 million safe miles throughout his career, equivalent to 176 trips around the world. Incredibly, Plant has not been involved in a single preventable or non-preventable accident and has never been cited for a moving or traffic violation of any sort.  

Plant is a 27-year veteran of Walmart Transportation and has worked at a total of four trucking companies. He typically operates a 5-Axle Sleeper Berth tractor-trailer and drives an average of 125,000 miles per year.

As a prolific truck driving championships competitor at both the state and national levels, Plant has won 11 state titles and 6 top ten finishes at nationals, including 2 second place trophies at the National Truck Driving Championships.

The Safety, Security and Human Resources National Conference and Exhibition also set the stage for the presentation of several other key trucking safety and security awards.

The Arkansas Trucking Association was honored with the ATA State Excellence in Safety Award, given annually to a state trucking association making innovative and impactful progress on promoting safety to their members. Arkansas Trucking Association hosted 8 safety council meetings, 5 education sessions, operates an Arkansas Road Team and Share the Road program, and hosted a state truck driving championship for 156 drivers representing 18 companies.

The ATA President's Award was given to three companies who exhibited safety excellence in their daily operations:

Security, an increasingly critical topic in the trucking industry, was also featured in several of the awards given out in Memphis. Old Dominion Freight Line was presented the Excellence in Security Award and ABF Freight System Inc. was honored with the Excellence in Claims and Loss Prevention Award.

ATA's Safety Management Council and Transportation Security Council's Safety, Security and Human Resources National Conference and Exhibition began Nov. 14 at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.

American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation's freight. Follow ATA on Twitter or on Facebook. Trucking Moves America Forward 

SOURCE American Trucking Associations

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About the Author: Carrie Brunner

Carrie Brunner grew up in a small town in northern New Brunswick. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Carrie writes mostly on provincial stories.
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