Curtis Carr, of Estes Express Lines, is the winner of the 2017 National Safety Director Award. Photo: ATA

Curtis Carr, of Estes Express Lines, is the winner of the 2017 National Safety Director Award. Photo: ATA

American Trucking Associations’ Safety Management Council has named Curtis Carr, of Estes Express Lines, as the winner of the 2017 National Safety Director Award. ATA also recognized Gary Plant of Walmart Transportation as the National Driver of the Year.

Carr has been with Estes since 1993, starting as an area safety supervisor. He became the company’s safety director in 1993 and later rose to vice president of safety and risk management. Under Carr’s supervision, Estes Express Lines implemented new individualized situational training programs, opened strong channels of communication throughout the company, and emphasized incentive awards programs and campaigns. At Estes, Carr oversees nearly 8,000 professional truck drivers who travel more than half a billion miles each year.

Since 1960, ATA’s SMC National Safety Director Award has come to represent the top achievement for those responsible for safety in the trucking industry. Candidates for the award are considered experts in the field, dedicated to educating and training truck drivers and safety professionals to ensure safety is the priority for all sectors of the industry.

Nominations for the award are reviewed by past winners, and ultimately selected by representatives of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and law enforcement officials.

“Curtis is a well-respected safety expert throughout our industry and the results of his leadership speak volumes about his approach to safety and interaction with the wider trucking community,” said Chris Spear, ATA president and CEO. “One only has to look to recent successes at Estes to see evidence of Curtis’ leadership. The company won six ATA SMC safety awards just last year and continues to improve safety on our nation’s highways under Curtis’ direction.”

Gary Plant, a truck driver for Walmart Transportation, was named the National Driver of the Year. He is in his 41st year as a driver and has driven 4.4 million safe miles in his career. Plant has not been involved in a single accident or cited for a moving or traffic violation of any sort during his career.

Plant has also participated in several truck driving championships at both the state and national levels, winning 11 state titles and placing in the top 10 six times at nationals, two of which were for second place at the National Truck Driving Championships.

“Safety is a reward in and of itself, but at ATA we also believe in recognizing the people and organizations who pursue excellence in their approaches to safety,” said Spear. “Safety is what defines our industry, and one must look no further than a four million mile accident-free driver or a company that dedicates substantial resources to safety investments, to see that safety is what guides trucking’s dedicated professionals every day.”