Solar Transport Brings Home Iowa Championship Gold!

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The Iowa Truck Driving Championships (TDC), featuring the "best of the best" in Iowa trucking industry,  awarded Solar Transport three awards this year. 

Chris Dougherty, a driver with Solar Transport since 2008, won first place in his division, Tanker and took the overall championship by placing first overall in scoring, winning the big prize. 

Brandon Fee, a driver with Solar Transport since 2019 and first year participant, took third place in his division, Flatbed. 

Bridget Nixon, CDS, Risk Claims Manager and Marvin McGinnis, Fleet Assistant, two members of the Solar Transport Safety Team, also participated in the event for Solar Transport.

Solar Transport also donated two sleeper trucks to the event. These trucks were used for an obstacle course during competition.null

Chris Dougherty, (left) and Brandon Fee, drivers with Solar Transport, win at TDC.

About IMTA and TDC

IMTA (Iowa Motor Transport Association) is one of only 5 states that hosted a Truck Driver Championship (TDC) this year due to COVID. Normally, a state winner will go to nationals. This year, that too was cancelled.

TDCs are events held to celebrate the commitment that drivers make to safety and the industry culture. The IMTA asks that carriers nominate drivers to participate with the qualifications being that the participant drivers have been employed with their respective carriers for at least one year and have no accidents. These drivers are the safest and most elite drivers in the state. They are excluded from competition even when they are clearly not at fault for a collision and for animal strikes. They must be absolutely flawless.
TDC events are competitions where drivers test their skills and industry knowledge against other drivers in differing classes. Each class has a winner and the highest score from all classes is considered the TDC Champion of the State.

nullEach TDC is broken into four segments:

  1. Written exam
  2. Interview
  3. Pre-Trip Inspection
  4. Driver Skill (Driving Course).

Each Class has a first, second and third place winner. However, there is only one State TDC Winner.

There is also a Rookie of the Year award for the highest scoring, first year competitor.

Agenda for Drivers that Participate

Day 1 Obstacle Course that tests the Professional Driver skillset

nullIMTA hosted the drivers on a closed road course in which the drivers had to negotiate a series of obstacles. They were scored on their ability to achieve a series of “closest to without hitting” targets that included turns, stops and backing maneuvers. The Pre-Trip Test pits the drivers against a truck and trailer combination with ten hidden defects that drivers must clearly and correctly identify within 10 minutes. This year was a challenge and only a handful of drivers found all 10, well designed and disguised defects.  

Day 2 Written tests and Interviews

null The IMTA written exam is based on the “Facts for Drivers” book that is published by the ATA (American Trucking Association). The Facts for Drivers book is a mini encyclopedia on the history of the trucking industry, the ATA and the infrastructure development over the decades.  There are 50 questions asked with each response worth 2 points.

The TDC Interview sits the driver down with 1-5 interviewers to ask a series of 5 questions based on information found in the Facts for Drivers book. Like the written exam, the answers are judged either correct or incorrect. Drivers do not get consideration for being close. Each response is worth 20 points.
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IMTA Driver’s Banquet is held at the end of the last day of the event. Drivers and industry representatives come together to celebrate the winners and encourage others. It is a great event of fellowship and honor. Drivers are invited to bring family members to take part and this year, there was a large group of family attending. We even had a 5 year old that the IMTA allowed to enter the Pre-Trip Inspection Test to see if he could beat his dad’s score. It was great! The event begins with the drivers being introduced to the audience in a “walk of champions” before the dinner begins. After we finish eating, the class awards are presented. They then present the award for the best Pre-Trip and then the Rookie of the Year. The end with the biggest award, the highest overall score. This is the person who won the TDC event.