ABF Freight driver Dave Hall of Austin, Ark., was named national champion for the 5-axle class at American Trucking Associations’ 2019 National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Hall works for less-than-truckload carrier ABF Freight, a company of Fort Smith-based ArcBest, and was one of 427 drivers from across the United States who qualified for the national championships after winning first place in one of nine classes at state competitions this year. He also was one of 50 drivers in the 5-axle class, and they competed in three categories in the national competition: pre-trip inspection, written examination and driving skills.
“This event is our Super Bowl of safety,” said Skylar Hatfield, director of safety services at the Arkansas Trucking Association. “To be named a national champion among the best and safest professionals in the industry is of the utmost honor, one that Dave has worked hard for and earned. We were proud to have him represent our state.”
This was Hall’s fifth time to qualify and compete at the national level since 2007 but his first time to win first place. He was second in the 4-axle class in 2015. At the state competition in July, he was first in 5-axle and was named the 2019 Arkansas Grand Champion.
“Congratulations to Dave and all the drivers on Team Arkansas who can perform safety and professionalism under the eyes of a stadium of fans,” said Shannon Newton, president of Arkansas Trucking Association. “This competition is a pressure test for the very best drivers, and I am constantly in awe of how drivers like Dave rise to the occasion.”
Hall has been with ABF Freight for five years and has worked in the industry for 32 years. He has more than 3 million safe driving miles. He and his wife Eileen live in Austin and have three children: David, 21; Zach, 20; and Madison, 17.
In 2007, when he worked for Yellow Freight, he was named Driver of the Year. He serves as an Arkansas Road Team Captain and teaches drivers of all ages about safe driving and sharing the road with big rigs. He’s also a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America.
“Year-round, truck drivers carry so much more than our freight,” Newton said. “They carry the knowledge of regulations, technical skills and a commitment to safety that keeps the rest of us protected on our nation’s highways. On competition days, we see all the invisible work that makes our country and state economies moving forward. To witness and appreciate this work is key to understanding the critical role truck drivers play in every community they visit.”