Cristina Commendatore | FleetOwner
J.B. Hunt Transport driver Andrew Waits of Tacoma, Washington

J.B. Hunt driver named Goodyear’s Highway Hero for 2022

Feb. 27, 2023
Professional truck driver Andrew Waits is the 38th recipient of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Highway Hero Award, which recognizes truckers who act courageously for the good of others.

ORLANDO, Florida—In August 2022, J.B. Hunt Transport driver Andrew Waits of Tacoma, Washington, was driving along Interstate 405 in Washington state when he noticed a car in front of him change lanes without looking. That car hit a motorcycle, knocking the rider, unconscious, from his bike and onto the highway.

Waits, also a volunteer firefighter, took immediate action. He quickly positioned his tractor-trailer to block the highway so the unconscious man didn’t get hit by another vehicle. Waits then stayed with and cared for the motorcyclist until first responders arrived.

“You never know what you’re going to see on any given day,” Waits said. “This accident happened right in front of me, and I had to think quick. I utilized my knowledge and instincts to help those in need at a very crucial time.” 

Because of his response and lifesaving efforts, Waits was named the Goodyear’s 2022 Highway Hero Award at the 2023 Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting at the Orange County Convention Center.

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Highway Hero Award has recognized professional truck drivers who act courageously for the good of others on highways across the U.S. and Canada since 1983. Waits is the 38th recipient of the award.

See also: Goodyear Highway Hero Award finalists put bravery into action

“We’re proud to honor Andrew and all of this year’s finalists in the Goodyear Highway Hero Award,” said Dave Beasley, VP of Goodyear North America Commercial. “Truck drivers keep our country moving, and it gives me comfort to know we have people like Andrew on the road, getting the job done and courageously helping out when needed.”

Henrik Christensen, Waits’ supervisor at J.B. Hunt (No. 4 on the FleetOwner 500Top For-Hire Fleets of 2023), nominated Waits for the award after Waits told him what happened.  

“I can’t speak enough about Andrew’s character,” Christensen said during a TMC press conference. “The morning of the event, Andrew called me and his exact words starting off were, ‘Boss, I’m delayed. I’m sorry.’”

“He apologized for being delayed,” Christensen added. “He wasn’t boastful. He didn’t pat himself on the back. He truly thought what he did was right and just needed to be done.”

Waits pointed out that when he got the call from Goodyear notifying him that he won the award, he was in shock.

“I asked him to repeat himself because I didn’t think I won,” Waits said. “There were others who had stories that were just as good as mine. There are a lot of heroes on the road every day, and honestly, I don’t consider myself one of them.”

Waits is the first professional driver from J.B. Hunt to receive Goodyear’s annual award.

“Andrew prioritized the safety and well-being of others in a moment where every second is critical,” said Nick Hobbs, chief operating officer and president of contract services at J.B. Hunt. “His actions were selfless and courageous, and we are grateful that Goodyear is recognizing him with the 2022 Highway Hero Award.”

In September 2022, Goodyear asked the trucking community to nominate drivers who demonstrated an extraordinary act of courage on the road. After receiving dozens of submissions, finalists were identified, and a panel of judges voted on the grand prize winner. In addition to Waits, the other two finalists for 2022 are Barry Perkins of Burlington, New Jersey, and Robert Windsor of Norman, Oklahoma.

Perkins encountered a life-threatening accident that involved numerous cars, including a vehicle that caught fire with a family trapped inside. Perkins extinguished the fire and helped the driver and her children exit the vehicle and get safely off the road.

Windsor encountered a vehicle that was pinned underneath a semi-truck and engulfed in flames. He used his fire extinguisher to neutralize the flames before rescuing a young girl from the pinned vehicle.

About the Author

Cristina Commendatore

Cristina Commendatore was previously the Editor-in-chief of FleetOwner magazine. She reported on the transportation industry since 2015, covering topics such as business operational challenges, driver and technician shortages, truck safety, and new vehicle technologies. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...