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American Trucking Associations

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American Trucking Associations

American Trucking Associations
Founded 1933
Type Trade Association
Focus Trucking Industry
Area served
United States
Key people
Bill Graves, President and CEO

The American Trucking Associations (ATA), founded in 1933, is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States. Former Governor of Kansas Bill Graves is ATA's President and CEO.

According to the ATA's mission statement, their goals are "to serve and represent the interests of the trucking industry with one united voice; to influence in a positive manner federal and state governmental actions; to advance the trucking industry's image, efficiency, competitiveness, and profitability; to provide educational programs and industry research; to promote safety and security on the nation's highways and among drivers; and to strive for a healthy business environment."[1]

The Americans Trucking Associations represent the interests of trucking company owners, not United States citizen truck drivers. Truck Drivers are represented by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.[2]


On September 23, 1933, the American Trucking Associations was established as a national affiliation of state trucking organizations. The ATA was established by a merger of the American Highway Freight Association and the Federated Trucking Associations of America.[3]

ATA began with a staff of eight working from a three-room suite in the Transportation Building in Washington, D.C. During World War II the Army requested ATA recruit personnel for two quartermaster regiments that would become the U.S.Army Transportation Corps. With calls to the 350 members of the ATA's Trucking Service War Council, 5,700 trucking industry employees volunteered for enlisted positions and 258 volunteered for officer commissions. After the war the ATA was in the forefront of the groups and industries supporting Dwight D. Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System.[3]

The American Trucking Associations has worked on regulatory issues from the Code of Fair Competition in 1934 to the eventual deregulation of the industry.

The ATA's headquarters are in Arlington, Virginia and the ATA has a legislative affairs office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.[3]


ATA is the trade association representing its members before logistics technology, regulatory and legislative affairs, and a number of other areas of service to the trucking industry.

As members of the federation, ATA's councils are dedicated to continuing education and policy in specific trucking disciplines including safety management, maintenance, finance and accounting, information technology, logistics, and more. [1]


ATA's messages revolve around three core areas: the essentiality of the trucking industry to the economy; the industry's ongoing efforts and progress made to improve highway safety; and the industry's commitment to reducing emissions and carbon output.


ATA advocates the essentiality of the trucking industry in the U.S. economy. Trucks haul nearly 100 percent of consumer goods and 69 percent of all freight tonnage in the United States. Moreover, economists estimate that 80 percent of U.S. communities receive their goods exclusively by truck.[4]

Economists expect the U.S. population to grow by 27 million in the next 10 years, and overall freight tonnage to increase 26 percent by 2021, with the modal share hauled by truck increasing to 71 percent. To keep pace with this growth, ATA advocates increasing capacity and improving highway infrastructure at the nation's worst traffic congestion points to ensure the efficient movement of goods.


ATA's safety message focuses on three different key areas: improving driver performance, safer vehicles, and safer motor carriers. The ATA maintains that the trucking industry is safer than it has ever been, according to truck vehicle miles traveled (VMT) figures from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) data on crashes. Since new Hours-of-Service regulations took effect in 2004, the truck-involved fatality rate has come down more than 20 percent and is at its lowest since the U.S. Department of Transportation began keeping those records in 1975. The fatality rate has declined more than 66 percent since 1975. The trucking industry has also seen an increase in safety belt usage.[5]

In 2008, ATA released a progressive 18-point safety agenda to help further improve highway safety.[6] ATA recommends the following in order to increase safety through improving driver performance: uniform commercial drivers license (CDL) testing standards, additional parking facilities for trucks, a national maximum speed limit of 65 mph, strategies to increase use of safety belts, increased use of red light cameras, and more stringent laws to reduce drinking and driving.[6] In order to make vehicles safer the ATA supports: targeted electronic speed governing of certain non-commercial vehicles, electronic speed governing of all large trucks, and new large truck crashworthiness standards. Finally, the ATA promotes making motor carriers safer through: a national employer notification system, a national clearinghouse for positive drug and alcohol test results of CDL holders, and required safety training by new entrant motor carriers.[6]


ATA supports environmental sustainability policies that provide the trucking industry with realistic ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions without impeding the freedom of movement essential to the U.S. economy. ATA has six recommendations to reduce carbon emissions in the trucking industry: enacting a national 65 mph speed limit and governing truck speeds to 65 mph or lower, decreasing idling, increasing fuel efficiency, reducing congestion through highway improvements, promoting the use of more productive truck combinations, and through supporting national fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. These proposals together can reduce diesel and gasoline fuel consumption by 86 billion US gallons (330,000,000 m3) and CO2 emissions of all vehicles by nearly a billion tons over the next decade.

Also, ATA recommends that shippers and carriers join the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) SmartWay Transport Partnership Program. In 2009 ATA was awarded the SmartWay Excellence Award.[7] By 2012, the SmartWay Transport Partnership will cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 33 to 66 million metric tons per year.[8]

Subsidiaries, conferences and councils

  • Transport Topics is the national weekly business publication published by Transport Topics Publishing Group covering trucking and freight transportation news. It is owned by ATA and has been published since 1935. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the publication had a paid circulation of approximately 30,000 in May 2007. Its readers consist mainly of executives and managers involved in trucking, logistics and freight transportation.
  • The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI)- According to its website ATRI "and its predecessor organization the ATA Foundation have been engaged in critical transportation studies and operational tests since 1954. ATRI's primary mission is to conduct research in the field of transportation, with an emphasis on the trucking industry's essential role in a safe, efficient, and viable transportation system".[9]


ATA Conferences bring together groups of member motor carriers and suppliers in a specific line of business. Conferences are open to all ATA members and have policymaking and advocacy authority in their operational areas.

  • The Automobile Carriers Conference covers issues related to the transportation of automobiles and trucks for manufacturers, dealers and consumers.
  • The Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference is concerned with the transporters of food, timber, natural resources, farm commodities and supplies, both for-hire and private.
  • The Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference represents trucking operations at ports the handling of intermodal containers.[10]


  • National Accounting and Finance Council– A council for carrier CFOs and managers in federal and state tax compliance, financial management, accounting, insurance, and risk management.
  • Information Technology & Logistics Council– A council for today's IT, logistics and operations professionals.
  • Safety Management Council– A council for industry practitioners in safety, workplace injury prevention, human resources and employee health.
  • Supply Chain Security & Loss Prevention Council - A council for home to carrier personnel in cargo theft, Homeland Security, background check, freight claims, and security regulatory compliance.
  • Technology & Maintenance Council- A council for trucking experts in equipment maintenance and specifications, purchasing and on-board truck technologies.[11]

Driver of the Year

The ATA National Driver of the Year Award recognizes one professional truck driver for his/her exemplary accomplishments and excellent driving attributes.[12] Contestants for the ATA award start out by winning at the company level and are nominated by state trucking associations.[13]

At the national level, the Driver of the Year Award is presented to a driver whose professional qualifications, experience and performance are noteworthy. A driver may be nominated for an outstanding deed of heroism or highway courtesy; an outstanding contribution to highway safety, and/or a long record of safe and courteous driving - or a combination of part or all of these.[13] An impartial panel of judges from the trucking industry, government and law enforcement chooses the winner.[14]

The honor is considered among the highest a commercial truck driver can receive.[15] As the ATA National Driver of the Year, the winner receives a cash prize, trophy and diamond lapel pin at the ATA Annual Awards Banquet.[16]

Past ATA National Driver of the Year Award Winners are:[17]

Year Driver’s Name Company State
1948 Verle Langford Eveready Truck Service Colorado
1949 Martin Larsen Indianhead Truck Lines Minnesota
1950 Lloyd Reisner Hancock Truck Lines Indiana
1951 John Castner Pierce Auto Freight Lines, Inc. Oregon
1952 Allen C. Sagerhorn Consolidated Freightways, Inc. Oregon
1953 Pat Burkholder Garrett Freight Lines Nevada
1954 Gomer W. Bailey Buckingham Transportation, Inc. Colorado
1955 Floyd J. Pemberton Commercial Carriers, Inc. Michigan
1956 Lewis E. Cook Reed’s Transfer & Storage Co. Iowa
1957 Ernest Roedel Freight Ways, Inc. Missouri
1958 Reuben C. Thomas Sessions Company, Inc. Alabama
1959 Carl C. Crim Hugh Breeding, Inc. Oklahoma
1960 Russell L. Brown American Petrofina Co. Texas
1961 Melvin O. Griffith Eagle Transport Co. Texas
1962 Arthur M. Lear St. Johnsbury Trucking Co. Maine
1963 Wm. C. Nunley Yellow Transit Freight Lines Oklahoma
1964 Woodrow W. Given Service Lines, Inc. Tennessee
1965 Russell L. Beaulieu Branch Motor Express Co. Rhode Island
1966 Donald Beaudette Land O’Lakes Creameries, Inc. Minnesota
1967 James A. Martin B & L Motor Freight Ohio
1968 Wray Mundy D C International Colorado
1969 Frederick Marsh Watt Transport, Inc. Rhode Island
1970 Frank DeLucia Adley Express Co. Connecticut
1971 W.T. “Shorty” Smith Central Freight Lines, Inc. Texas
1972 Clarence Hoffman Raymond Motor Trans. Company Minnesota
1973 Curtis C. Stapp System 99 California
1974 Wilbur “Bill” Moore Pacific Intermountain Express Co. New Mexico
1975 Calvin W. Lane Coors Transportation Co. Colorado
1976 Harry R. Thomas Robertson Truck-A-Ways, Inc. California
1977 Olen Lee Welk C&H Transportation Co., Inc. Dallas, Texas/Missouri
1978 William M. Whim Mid-American Lines, Inc. Kansas
1979 Frank M. Waldron C&H Transportation Co., Inc. Arizona
1980 Malvin B. Mathews Complete Auto Transit Georgia
1981 Kenneth W. Olson Murphy Motor Freight Lines Minnesota
1982 William G. Yates Hobart Corporation Ohio
1983 Arthur E. Schooley Jack Cooper Transport Missouri
1984 N.F. Plunkett, Jr. Chevron USA Alabama
1985 John Chamberlain Giant Food Washington D.C.
1986 Davis C. Wrich MacMillan Bloedel Bldg. Materials Maryland
1987 Jack Wilhite Liquid Transport, Inc. Indiana
1988 Louis E. Mora Sierra Pacific Power Co. Nevada
1989 Charles K. Thompson Neal Oil Co. (APC) South Carolina
1990 J. Koole Steelcase, Inc. Michigan
1991 John D. Porter Con-Way Central Express Ohio
1992 Jerry Pitra Super Valu Stores, Inc. Minnesota
1993 David P. Maphis Hadley Auto Transport Co. California
1994 LaVant Bean Anderson Trucking Service Minnesota
1995 Floyd R. Buffington CF Motor Freight Illinois
1996 David G. McDonald Roadway Express Kansas
1997 Harold Likins, Jr. Farmland Industries Kansas
1998 James E. Sheriff Roadway Express Illinois
1999 Thomas W. Hawks Overnite Transportation Company Tennessee
2000 William Whim ABF Freight System, Inc. Kansas
2001 Steven Williams Nobel Sysco Colorado
2002 Kevin Scott Harris ABF Freight System, Inc. New York
2003 Doris Hansen Quality Transportation, Inc. Montana
2004 Charles Brown Yellow Transportation, Inc. Kansas
2005 Larry Springer Central Freight Lines Texas
2006 James Wilcox Yellow Transportation, Inc. New Mexico
2007 William Gray, Jr. UPS Freight Maryland
2008 David J. May Con-way Freight New York
2009 Keith Suits Rite Aid Rome Distribution Center New York
2010 Anthony A. Jones Central Freight Lines Texas
2011 Dalton “Rickey” Oliver Walmart Transportation, LLC Mississippi
2012 Ronald Fuller Central Freight Lines Texas
2013 Gary Babbitt Central Freight Lines Texas
2014 Carl Schultz Davis Express Florida


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ ATA. U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to…2020. Arlington, Virginia.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ (October 15, 2012). “ATA Recognizes Year's Best in Trucking.” TMCNet
  13. ^ a b (October 26, 1998). “Safe Driver of Year, One of Roadway's Elite.” Transport Topics
  14. ^ (September 21, 2005). “Central Freight Lines Driver Don Capps Achieves RARE five million mile Safe Driving Award.” Business Wire
  15. ^ (September 28, 2005). “Central Freight Lines' Springer named National Truck Driver of the Year.” Commercial Carrier Journal
  16. ^ (September 12, 2002). “ABF Driver Scott Harris Named National Driver of the Year.” Business Wire.
  17. ^ American Trucking Associations website

External links

  • Official website
  • Trucks Deliver a Cleaner Tomorrow - ATA's sustainability program
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