All That's Trucking

High School Students to Compete Alongside the Best Truck Drivers in Maine

Maine may be the only state to have a truck driving championship for high school students.

May 3, 2016

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Coverage of the April 13 competition from WABI TV 5.
Coverage of the April 13 competition from WABI TV 5.

There’s been a lot of discussion in recent years about the need to get people interested in the trucking industry while they’re still young — before they have a chance to get out of high school and embark on a different career. The Maine Professional Drivers Association has been doing exactly that with a student driving competition for some time.

The Dick Dolloff Memorial Student Driving Competition is for high school students enrolled in commercial truck driving classes at four vocational schools in Maine. This event is sponsored by an association of these schools with assistance from the Maine Motor Transport Association, the Maine Professional Drivers Association, and members of the Maine State Police.

This year’s event was held a few weeks ago, where about 50 students tested their skills in a two-part competition. The first part is driving skills where students will maneuver around obstacles similar to what they might encounter on a daily basis while driving. The second part is the pre-trip portion. There are two classes of competition: Class B (which is a straight truck) and Class A (tractor-trailer).

Coverage of the April 13 competition from WABI TV 5.
Coverage of the April 13 competition from WABI TV 5.

“Maine is the only state in the United States that trains this age group,” Vicki Kimball, an instructor at Tri-County Technical Center, told WABI TV 5. There are local companies such as Pepsi and Pine State that will hire these students after graduation, according to the TV coverage.

Students each year vie for trophies for themselves and their schools. The top two finishers in each class from each school moved on to the Future Truckers Competition, to be held on May 21. This competition will be held in conjunction with the Maine Professional Truck Driving Championships, where students will compete side by side with professional drivers from across the state.

“This, to our knowledge, is the only program of its kind in the country, and the side by side mentoring these students receive from top drivers in the state is invaluable to their training,” explains Ron Round, MPDA publicity officer and a driver for Pottle’s Transportation.

The event is named in memory of Dick Dolloff, a former truck driving instructor at the Westbrook Regional Vocational Center, one of the schools involved. (The other schools involved are Northern Penobscot Tech Region III in Lincoln, Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico/Rumford, and Tri-County Technical Center in Dexter.)

Dolloff was instrumental in starting this competition over 20 years ago. Maybe other states should follow in his footsteps.

Comments

  1. 1. Denis Litalien [ May 05, 2016 @ 04:09PM ]

    These kids, with the extensive training they receive over the last two years of high school, hit the road with more knowledge and skill than most graduates of adult truck driving schools. It's hard to understand why they are restricted to driving within state lines. The driving competition adds a level of exposure to real world and opportunities to network with professional drivers who can help their careers. Great program!

  2. 2. Billy Jones [ May 06, 2016 @ 10:34AM ]

    LOL TRUCK driving industry is suffering a mega lose of drivers, more every year, due to people retiring or leaving for other industries due to very low pay, to many hours and morons for dispatchers. And what has every military in history done when they are losing a way? Oh, they start using younger and young people to fight it. This while bit was a gimmick to try and recruit young people into a TERRIBLE INDUSTRY that will ruin their lives.

  3. 3. Kris Kubicek [ May 09, 2016 @ 05:08AM ]

    Any program that gives kids in high school career options is a great thing. If we can get younger people involved in the trucking industry, maybe they can help resolve some of the issues like those mentioned in Billy Jones comments. Just because it isn't the perfect industry for everyone doesn't mean the kids shouldn't be encouraged to join and improve the industry.

 

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Deborah Lockridge

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All That's Trucking blog is just that – the editor's take on anything and everything related to trucking, with the help of guest posts from other HDT editors. Author Deborah Lockridge's career as an award-winning trucking journalist started in 1990.

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