Each year in mid-August in the United States, drivers from every state gather to test their mettle, to find out who is the best of the best at the American Trucking Associations' (ATA) annual National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC). Canada has its NTDC competition in early- to mid-September.
Drivers qualify for the NTDC by winning their state or province championships in their classes. To even qualify for competition, drivers must be accident-free for the entire year before the competition and must continue to be accident-free through the national championships.
Most of the 50 states and Canadian provinces have 1- to 2-day competitions, although some states, such as Vermont and Maine, combine their competitions at one site. The state or province champions in each competition class go to nationals.
The first U.S. NTDC was in 1937 and has occurred every year since except during World War II. YRC Freight drivers have participated in all the competitions, although in some years, drivers entered on their own.
Drivers may choose in which class they want to enter; they don't have to drive the same vehicle class in their jobs. U.S. competition has nine classes:
The competition consists of a series of tasks with each task carrying a point value:
Judges score the tasks on the basis of specific criteria and may take deductions for incorrect responses or actions. When competition in all classes is completed, judges tally the points and name a champion and second- and third-place winners for each class. The champions in each class then compete for the top honor: National Grand Champion. At the end of the competition, the ATA honors all national winners and announces the new National Grand Champion at an awards banquet.