J.B. Hunt Transport driver Andrew Waits of Tacoma, Washington, was named the 38th winner of the Goodyear Highway Hero Award at the Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. The program celebrates professional truck drivers who act courageously for the good of others on highways across the United States and Canada.
As a result of an accident, a motorcyclist was thrown from his vehicle on a busy, four-lane highway. Waits, a military veteran and full-time truck driver, quickly positioned his tractor trailer to shield the unconscious motorcyclist from oncoming traffic and attended to the injured man using skills he learned as a volunteer firefighter until first responders could arrive.
“You never know what you’re going to see on any given day,” Waits said in a press release. “This accident happened right in front of me, and I had to think quick. I utilized my knowledge and instincts to help those in need at a very crucial time.”
“I remember my Junior ROTC instructor, Norman Fowler, in school used to say ‘Always choose the hard right over the easy wrong’,” Waits said at the award presentation. “And that really stuck with me. And I literally pulled hard to the right when the accident happened to block traffic.”
Waits said he is truly humbled and surprised at being named Goodyear’s 2023 Highway Hero.
“You know you did something right when your father says he’s proud of you,” Waits said.
Waits is the first driver from J.B. Hunt to receive the award from Goodyear.
“Andrew prioritized the safety and well-being of others in a moment where every second is critical,” said Nick Hobbs, chief operating officer and president of Contract Services at J.B. Hunt. “His actions were selfless and courageous, and we are grateful that Goodyear is recognizing him with the 2022 Highway Hero Award.”
In September 2022, Goodyear asked the trucking community to nominate a driver in their life who demonstrated an extraordinary act of courage on the road. After receiving dozens of inspiring story submissions, finalists were identified and a panel of independent industry judges voted on the grand prize winner. The two additional finalists were:
- Barry Perkins of Burlington, New Jersey, encountered a life-threatening accident that involved numerous cars, including a vehicle that caught fire with a family trapped inside. Perkins extinguished the fire and helped the driver and her children exit the vehicle and get safely off the road.
- Robert Windsor of Norman, Oklahoma, encountered a vehicle that was pinned underneath a semi-truck and engulfed in flames. Windsor used his fire extinguisher to neutralize the flames before rescuing a young girl from the pinned vehicle.