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.

Author

Deborah Lockridge
Deborah Lockridge

Deborah Lockridge

Reporting on trucking since 1990, Deborah is known for her award-winning magazine editorials and in-depth features on diverse issues, from the driver shortage to maintenance to rapidly changing technology. 28 Jesse H. Neal honors.

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Reporting on trucking since 1990, Deborah is known for her award-winning magazine editorials and in-depth features on diverse issues, from the driver shortage to maintenance to rapidly changing technology. 28 Jesse H. Neal honors.

View Bio
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