American Trucking Associations
America S Road Team Volvo Truck 653fef28ef6cd

America’s Road Team finalists include some of nation’s safest truck drivers

Oct. 31, 2023
The 36 finalists represent fleets from 20 states and include long-haul and regional professional drivers who have accumulated more than 80 million safe-driving miles. The new captains will be named by ATA in January.

American Trucking Associations recently named 36 of the safest professional truck drivers on the road as finalists for the 2024-25 America’s Road Team.

“These men and women were selected as finalists for America’s Road Team because they have outstanding safe driving records, share a passion for the trucking industry, and are role models among their peers,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said. “We owe these professional drivers our gratitude, without them the American economy would come to a halt.”

America’s Road Team debuted in 1986 to represent the trucking industry with professional truck drivers with superior safety records. Volvo Trucks sponsors the endeavor. Captains, with support from their companies, dedicate a few days each month to attending industry events, speaking at schools, or meeting policymakers on behalf of the trucking industry.

See also: ATA 2023 Management Conference & Exhibition round-up

The finalists move to the last round of the selection process in Washington this January. A panel of evaluators, including industry officials and trucking news media representatives, will judge the contenders on their knowledge of the trucking industry, dedication to safety, ability to communicate the industry’s messages, and overall safe driving record.

The finalists—with 81 million safe-driving miles and 1,035 years as professional truck drivers combined—are highway safety experts eager to share their experiences with the motoring public.

“Being named a finalist for America’s Road Team is a major achievement for professional truck drivers, and ATA congratulates each of them for this accomplishment," Sarah Rajtik, COO of ATA, said. “America’s Road Team will continue to serve as a voice for the industry, which benefits from their professionalism, dedication, and safety as they educate the public on highway safety, the positive impact the trucking industry plays in our economy, and why a career in professional truck driving is great.”

The 2024-25 America’s Road Team will be unveiled on January 16, following a ceremony at ATA’s headquarters in Washington. New captains will begin working to share the industry’s message of safety, essentiality, and sustainability with the motoring public, media, business and community groups, public officials, and their fellow truck drivers around the country.

Captains from previous teams continue to serve as ambassadors to the industry and are called upon frequently to participate in safety events, speaking appearances, and industry conferences.

This year’s finalists hail from 20 states, haul diverse products and materials, and range from short-haul drivers to over-the-road drivers operating in all the lower 48 states. The finalists represent a cross-section of the industry with experience ranging from six to 46 years as professional truck drivers with anywhere from 350,000 to 4 million safe driving miles.

The America’s Road Team finalists are:

  • Mike Alpine, ABF Freight System Inc., Arizona
  • Ben Atkinson, ABF Freight System Inc., Florida
  • Willie Baylor, FedEx Freight, Indiana
  • Terry Bennett, ABF Freight System Inc., Florida
  • Joe Busch, ABF Freight System Inc., Iowa
  • Perry Carter, Cargo Transporters Inc., North Carolina
  • Joseph Collins, FedEx Ground – Spartan Logistics, Minnesota
  • Robbie Cottrell, XPO, Virginia
  • Howard Crawford, United Parcel Service, North Carolina
  • Damon Evans, United Parcel Service, California
  • Orlando Fraley, FedEx Freight, Georgia
  • Dennis Hall, Tyson Foods Inc., Texas
  • Robert Hare, FedEx Freight, Virginia
  • Dave Hedicker, ABF Freight System Inc., Ohio
  • Lloyd Howell, TCW, Alabama
  • John Lemmons, United Parcel Service, Tennessee
  • Ronnie Mahan, FedEx Freight, Arkansas
  • Sean McClure, Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., Utah
  • Rodney McNew, Groendyke Transport Inc., Texas
  • Mike Middleton, Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., Tennessee
  • Pete Palczynski, Walmart Transportation, Illinois
  • Emily Plummer, Prime Inc., Missouri
  • Wayne Ponschke, United Parcel Service, California
  • Scott Post, FedEx Ground – Spartan Logistics, Minnesota
  • John Antoine Sadler, Walmart Transportation, North Carolina
  • Gary Schmidt, Jacobson Transport & Cliff Viessman Inc., Minnesota
  • Brian Sheehan, CRST The Transportation Solution Inc., Indiana
  • Molly Shultz, TransLand, Missouri
  • Anthony Tirone, Walmart Transportation, Florida
  • Chevelle Walker, Werner Enterprises, Florida
  • Bernard Wanyo, United Parcel Service, Pennsylvania
  • Thomas Warters, Penske Logistics, Florida
  • Mike Whitehead, FedEx Freight, South Dakota
  • James "Gragg" Wilson, United Parcel Service, Nevada
  • Ryan Ybarra, United Parcel Service, California
  • David Young, FedEx Freight, North Carolina
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