IFDA Truck Driving Championship Honors Industry’s Top Drivers

Ben E. Keith Foods, Performance Foodservice and McLane Foodservice Distribution among the winners.

Orlando, FL: In a competition that included 100 of the best drivers in the world, the elite first place winners included drivers from Ben E. Keith Foods, Performance Foodservice, and McLane Foodservice Distribution. These and other drivers were recognized for their exceptional performance at a banquet following competition in the 2010 Food Industry Truck Driving Championship, a safety event testing the skills and knowledge of food industry drivers that includes three categories of competition: Straight Truck, 3-Axle, and 5-Axle. Combined, the drivers in the competition represented more than 66 million accident free miles. One of the third place winners has racked up 3.3 million accident free miles after 40 years of service in the industry.

The competition, held by the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), took place Sept. 10 to 12 in Orlando, FL. Winners were announced Sept. 12 at the event’s awards banquet, which was sponsored by Penske Truck Leasing. To compete in the event, drivers had to win a company or local competition. Contestants came from across the United States and from as far away as Hawaii and Canada.

“Food industry drivers take great pride in their jobs and this competition is an opportunity to reward truly exceptional drivers in this industry,” said Britt Wood, IFDA’s vice president of industry programs and services. “The whole focus of the event is to provide support for a strong safety culture. It provides an opportunity for companies to celebrate that culture and have their drivers represent them in a national level competition. When you look at the records of the food industry drivers in this competition — many of whom have driven more than a million accident free miles — you are looking at drivers clearly motivated by excellence.”

All the drivers, including the top prize award winners, were honored at the event’s award banquet and each winner received a cash award, competition medallion, and a trophy. The awards dinner also included a message from Meredith Neizer, senior vice president of operations at U.S. Foodservice, who stressed safety, training, and the responsibility of foodservice drivers in sharing the road with commuters.

The three-part competition includes a written examination measuring driver knowledge of safety and operating procedures, a vehicle inspection to uncover five planted equipment defects or safety hazards that could affect vehicle readiness, and a driving course competition where drivers are evaluated on their ability to handle a series of six course problems simulating everyday conditions.