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Hazmat trucker receives CVSA’s 2022 International Driver Excellence Award

Aug. 16, 2022
Ruth McDonough with Hittman Transport Services, in her 40 years and 4 million miles, has never had an incident. The Army veteran will receive $2,500 alongside the award from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
Truck driver Ruth McDonough has won 2022’s International Driver Excellence Award (IDEA) from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), according to a CVSA press release.

She is a specialized commercial motor vehicle driver responsible for hauling radioactive and nuclear loads with Hittman Transport Services. During her 10-year tenure at Hittman, McDonough has traveled more than a million safe and incident-free miles. Furthermore, she has been driving large vehicles—in the military and as a commercial motor vehicle driver—for more than 40 years and about 4 million miles, all incident free.

See also: Sisters of the Road: Documenting the lives of women truckers

CVSA recognizes the careers of professional commercial motor vehicle drivers and their commitment to public safety through its driver excellence award. Nominees must have at least 25 cumulative years of crash-free driving in a commercial motor vehicle with a clean driving record for the past three years, no felony convictions, no safety-related driving suspensions in the past three years, and no driver violations in the past three years, excluding form and manner violations.

“I was absolutely shocked when I found out I won this award,” McDonough said. “I had tears in my eyes.”

McDonough’s trucking career began in 1979 when she enlisted in the U.S. Army. She received basic training and truck-driving training at Fort Dix in New Jersey as one of only a few women in her class. Upon completion of training, McDonough was assigned to the 181st Transportation Battalion 51st Transportation Company in Mannheim, Germany, which is a movement control unit that provides tailored and adaptive transportation, expeditionary logistical capabilities for transportation, movement control, and distribution in support of U.S. European Command.

McDonough supported transportation operations in Germany by safely delivering armored personnel carriers, ammunition, and general supplies. She earned the Army Achievement Medal for her time in Germany. She was then stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as part of the 839th Transportation Company, where she received the Driver of the Year Award at the retirement ceremony of the unit.

After her military service, McDonough continued her transportation career by working as a professional truck driver. She worked at Tri-State Motor Transit Company, out of Joplin, Missouri, and was one of the first women drivers to work for companies such as Hershey Chocolate in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Mountain Valley Spring Water Company in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

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In December 2011, McDonough was welcomed to the Hittman Transport Services team and has been proudly supporting the radioactive and nuclear field with Hittman ever since. Hittman Transport Services transports low-level radioactive waste and is one of the largest trucking companies for hauling nuclear fuel in the U.S. Its drivers transport shipping casks, vans, and flatbeds throughout the U.S. and Canada.

McDonough was nominated for this award by Tammy Summers, transportation compliance manager with Hittman Transport Services. Summers had this to say about McDonough, “Ruth’s attention to detail and dedication to safety have ensured that her driving record remains clean. Her extensive knowledge and outgoing personality continue to be a valuable asset to this company. Ruth’s pleasant demeanor and infectious laugh are welcomed each time she enters my office. She is truly a remarkable woman.”

With decades of driving experience and millions of crash-free miles driven safely on the road, McDonough has amassed valuable knowledge for ensuring she is safe on our roadways. “I always keep my eyes moving and look ahead as far as I can,” said McDonough. “I check the ramps for incoming vehicles, I check around my vehicle, I check my mirrors. With open-bed freight, you check your mirrors a lot.”

“I also like to look through the back windows and mirrors of the vehicles in front of me,” she added. “You can observe a lot by looking inside the vehicles around you, such as the driver’s head bobbing, indicating that they might be sleepy or fatigued.”

McDonough will receive her award next month at the CVSA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Rapid City, South Dakota. She will be presented with a crystal trophy and a check for $2,500 at the awards luncheon on Sept. 21.

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