Excessive heat, road construction, impending safety regulations and other factors created a tire shortage within the trucking industry last summer, sidelining a record number of tractors and trailers.
With the threat of a similar deficit in the industry this summer due to raw material shortages and damaged manufacturing capacity in Japan, one trucking company is trying to enlist drivers to help keep tires up and running via a sweepstakes.

Schneider National is addressing tire failures on two fronts: the company is enhancing its tire maintenance program and motivating drivers to monitor tire condition through a special sweepstakes, the "Bristol or Bust Tire Challenge," in which the company is awarding more than $10,000 in prizes.

In addition to the shortage issue, the company notes that tire maintenance is one of many factors tied to the new Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) requirements.

"We are making a conscious, proactive effort to focus on tire condition and replacement as we head into this summer," says Steve Graham, vice president of purchasing at Schneider. "This effort will cross many facets of our business, but drivers will play one of the biggest parts in seeing that we get the job done. They know nearly 50 percent of all breakdowns are tire related, and their desire to keep running and remain compliant is certainly motivation for them to help prevent problems."

According to Graham, company efforts include checking trailer tires in large trailer pools and company operating centers; removing tires at higher tread depths; replacing all new trailer tires with DuraSeal self-sealing tires; and enhancing access to nationwide tire bank resources.

To further encourage company drivers and owner-operators to help keep tire failures to a minimum (and tire supply at a maximum), Schneider is rolling out the Bristol or Bust Tire Challenge. From May 16 to July 31, 2011, drivers can test their knowledge of Schneider's new tire program and enter the Bristol or Bust Tire Challenge sweepstakes - with a chance to win one of 136 prizes.

The Grand Prize is a weekend for two at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 250 Nationwide Series race and the Irwin Tools 500 Sprint Cup race on Aug. 26-27. The prize includes airfare, hotel for three days and two nights, access to the garage, and VIP Suite tickets to the Friday and Saturday night races. Other prizes include passes to the Richard Petty Rookie Driver Experience and $500 gift cards for a set of Goodyear tires.

"We wanted to find a way to thank and reward our drivers for their assistance in making this important initiative a success," notes Graham. "Because we know the overwhelming majority of our driver force are avid racing fans, this is really going to motivate them and drive important business results - a win for all of us."