JONESBORO (KAIT) Almost everything we come in daily contact with at one time or another is hauled in a truck. Driving a truck takes skill and practice and once a year the best drivers in the country gather to show their skills. One national competitor is based here in Region 8.
Neil Templeton has driven a truck the equivalent of a 126 times around the equator.
"I never was really any good at books, it's just something I always wanted to try and it gets in your blood."
Meet Neil Templeton, truck driver with over a million miles behind him, father, and possibly one of the best truck drivers in the state and maybe the nation.
In the state driving championships Neil came home with number 1 in the state in the tanker class.
Paul Tarver, Con-Way Freight, "You have to participate in an interview, a pre-trip inspection, a course inspection and then a written test.you get points for each one and Neil has scored the most points on it."
Neil doesn't drive a tanker now he hauls doubles: every night, usually to Nashville. But he has driven a tanker before.
Templeton, "We already had drivers competing with Con-Way and we try and compete in every class so I took the tank class. "
Neil has won the state championship for two years in a row but for the Con-Way company he's just one of a long line of award winners.
Tarver, "In the last 5 years Con-Way has sent more drivers to the national competition than any other carrier that is participating in it."
The state and national competitions require a driver to have a good working knowledge of his business and then it tests the practical experience of the driver.
Templeton, "Then we pre-trip a truck, we have like 10 minutes to find anything wrong with the piece of equipment. And then we do a driving course. "
I rode along with Neil as he put his "pup" through a simulated challenge.
Templeton, "I can put a steer tire right on that (white edge marker). It's done at slower speeds in the competition because it's on such a tight course.>
After a million miles of safe driving what advice can he give us to make us safer drivers.
"Dedication, awareness, pay attention to your surroundings, I don't know a combination of a lot of things to be a safe driver."
Templeton will be competing in the national driving championships on August 19 - 23 in Houston Texas.