The American Trucking Associations (ATA), founded in 1933, is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States. Former Governor of Kansas Bill Graves is ATA's President and CEO.

According to the ATA's mission statement, their goals are "to serve and represent the interests of the trucking industry with one united voice; to influence in a positive manner federal and state governmental actions; to advance the trucking industry's image, efficiency, competitiveness, and profitability; to provide educational programs and industry research; to promote safety and security on the nation's highways and among drivers; and to strive for a healthy business environment."[3]

The Americans Trucking Associations represent the interests of trucking company owners, not United States citizen truck drivers. Truck Drivers are represented by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.[4]


On September 23, 1933, the American Trucking Associations was established as a national affiliation of state trucking organizations. The ATA was established by a merger of the American Highway Freight Association and the Federated Trucking Associations of America.[5]

ATA began with a staff of eight working from a three-room suite in the Transportation Building in Washington, D.C. During World War II the Army requested ATA recruit personnel for two quartermaster regiments that would become the U.S.Army Transportation Corps. With calls to the 350 members of the ATA's Trucking Service War Council, 5,700 trucking industry employees volunteered for enlisted positions and 258 volunteered for officer commissions. After the war the ATA was in the forefront of the groups and industries supporting Dwight D. Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System.[5]

The American Trucking Associations has worked on regulatory issues from the Code of Fair Competition in 1934 to the eventual deregulation of the industry.

The ATA's headquarters are in Arlington, Virginia and the ATA has a legislative affairs office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.[5]


ATA is the trade association representing its members before Congress, the executive branch, the courts, and the regulatory agencies. It includes 50 state trucking associations, two conferences and three councils. Each state association is an independent organization with its own membership, dues structure, officers, budgets and staff, but having representation and voting powers within the federation. Like the state associations, ATA's conferences (each representing a segment of the industry) are autonomous organizations.

ATA is composed of motor carrier members and is governed by a board of elected carrier representative members. A smaller executive committee is composed of elected members that set policies and priorities. Allied members, representing suppliers to the trucking industry, also have representation within the organization. All ATA members are provided access to experts in safety, engineering, law, finance, communications, information and logistics technology, regulatory and legislative affairs, and a number of other areas of service to the trucking industry.

As members of the federation, ATA's councils are dedicated to continuing education and policy in specific trucking disciplines including safety management, maintenance, finance and accounting, information technology, logistics, and more.


ATA's messages revolve around three core areas: the essentiality of the trucking industry to the economy; the industry's ongoing efforts and progress made to improve highway safety; and the industry's commitment to reducing emissions and carbon output.


ATA advocates the essentiality of the trucking industry in the U.S. economy. Trucks haul nearly 100 percent of consumer goods and 69 percent of all freight tonnage in the United States. Moreover, economists estimate that 80 percent of U.S. communities receive their goods exclusively by truck.

Economists expect the U.S. population to grow by 27 million in the next 10 years, and overall freight tonnage to increase 26 percent by 2021, with the modal share hauled by truck increasing to 71 percent. To keep pace with this growth, ATA advocates increasing capacity and improving highway infrastructure at the nation's worst traffic congestion points to ensure the efficient movement of goods.


ATA's safety message focuses on three different key areas: improving driver performance, safer vehicles, and safer motor carriers. The ATA maintains that the trucking industry is safer than it has ever been, according to truck vehicle miles traveled (VMT) figures from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) data on crashes. Since new Hours-of-Service regulations took effect in 2004, the truck-involved fatality rate has come down more than 20 percent and is at its lowest since the U.S. Department of Transportation began keeping those records in 1975. The fatality rate has declined more than 66 percent since 1975. The trucking industry has also seen an increase in safety belt usage.[6]

In 2008, ATA released a progressive 18-point safety agenda to help further improve highway safety.[7] ATA recommends the following in order to increase safety through improving driver performance: uniform commercial drivers license (CDL) testing standards, additional parking facilities for trucks, a national maximum speed limit of 65 mph, strategies to increase use of safety belts, increased use of red light cameras, and more stringent laws to reduce drinking and driving.[7] In order to make vehicles safer the ATA supports: targeted electronic speed governing of certain non-commercial vehicles, electronic speed governing of all large trucks, and new large truck crashworthiness standards. Finally, the ATA promotes making motor carriers safer through: a national employer notification system, a national clearinghouse for positive drug and alcohol test results of CDL holders, and required safety training by new entrant motor carriers.[7]


ATA supports environmental sustainability policies that provide the trucking industry with realistic ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions without impeding the freedom of movement essential to the U.S. economy. ATA has six recommendations to reduce carbon emissions in the trucking industry: enacting a national 65 mph speed limit and governing truck speeds to 65 mph or lower, decreasing idling, increasing fuel efficiency, reducing congestion through highway improvements, promoting the use of more productive truck combinations, and through supporting national fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. These proposals together can reduce diesel and gasoline fuel consumption by 86 billion US gallons (330,000,000 m3) and CO2 emissions of all vehicles by nearly a billion tons over the next decade.

Also, ATA recommends that shippers and carriers join the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) SmartWay Transport Partnership Program. In 2009 ATA was awarded the SmartWay Excellence Award.[8] By 2012, the SmartWay Transport Partnership will cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 33 to 66 million metric tons per year.[9]

Strategic plan

The ATA has instituted a five step plan to meet the above goals:[10]

  • Encouraging the trucking industry to prioritize safety
  • Continually increasing efficiency and productivity
  • Branding ATA as the authoritative voice for the industry
  • Providing solid leadership in the industry
  • Maximizing human and financial resources to achieve the above mission

Subsidiaries, conferences and councils

  • Transport Topics is the national weekly business publication published by Transport Topics Publishing Group covering trucking and freight transportation news. It is owned by ATA and has been published since 1935. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the publication had a paid circulation of approximately 30,000 in May 2007. Its readers consist mainly of executives and managers involved in trucking, logistics and freight transportation.
  • The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI)- According to its website ATRI "and its predecessor organization the ATA Foundation have been engaged in critical transportation studies and operational tests since 1954. ATRI's primary mission is to conduct research in the field of transportation, with an emphasis on the trucking industry's essential role in a safe, efficient, and viable transportation system".[11]


ATA Conferences bring together groups of member motor carriers and suppliers in a specific line of business. Conferences are open to all ATA members and have policymaking and advocacy authority in their operational areas.

  • The Automobile Carriers Conference covers issues related to the transportation of automobiles and trucks for manufacturers, dealers and consumers.
  • The Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference is concerned with the transporters of food, timber, natural resources, farm commodities and supplies, both for-hire and private.
  • The Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference represents trucking operations at ports the handling of intermodal containers.[12]


  • National Accounting and Finance Council– A council for carrier CFOs and managers in federal and state tax compliance, financial management, accounting, insurance, and risk management.
  • Information Technology & Logistics Council– A council for today's IT, logistics and operations professionals.
  • Safety Management Council– A council for industry practitioners in safety, workplace injury prevention, human resources and employee health.
  • Supply Chain Security & Loss Prevention Council - A council for home to carrier personnel in cargo theft, Homeland Security, background check, freight claims, and security regulatory compliance.
  • Technology & Maintenance Council- A council for trucking experts in equipment maintenance and specifications, purchasing and on-board truck technologies.[13]

Driver of the Year

The ATA National Driver of the Year Award recognizes one professional truck driver for his/her exemplary accomplishments and excellent driving attributes.[3] Contestants for the ATA award start out by winning at the company level and are nominated by state trucking associations.

At the national level, the Driver of the Year Award is presented to a driver whose professional qualifications, experience and performance are noteworthy. A driver may be nominated for an outstanding deed of heroism or highway courtesy; an outstanding contribution to highway safety, and/or a long record of safe and courteous driving - or a combination of part or all of these. An impartial panel of judges from the trucking industry, government and law enforcement chooses the winner.[3]

The honor is considered among the highest a commercial truck driver can receive.[3] As the ATA National Driver of the Year, the winner receives a cash prize, trophy and diamond lapel pin at the ATA Annual Awards Banquet.[3]

Past ATA National Driver of the Year Award Winners are:[3]

YearDriver’s NameCompanyState
1948Verle LangfordEveready Truck ServiceColorado
1949Martin LarsenIndianhead Truck LinesMinnesota
1950Lloyd ReisnerHancock Truck LinesIndiana
1951John CastnerPierce Auto Freight Lines, Inc.Oregon
1952Allen C. SagerhornConsolidated Freightways, Inc.Oregon
1953Pat BurkholderGarrett Freight LinesNevada
1954Gomer W. BaileyBuckingham Transportation, Inc.Colorado
1955Floyd J. PembertonCommercial Carriers, Inc.Michigan
1956Lewis E. CookReed’s Transfer & Storage Co.Iowa
1957Ernest RoedelFreight Ways, Inc.Missouri
1958Reuben C. ThomasSessions Company, Inc.Alabama
1959Carl C. CrimHugh Breeding, Inc.Oklahoma
1960Russell L. BrownAmerican Petrofina Co.Texas
1961Melvin O. GriffithEagle Transport Co.Texas
1962Arthur M. LearSt. Johnsbury Trucking Co.Maine
1963Wm. C. NunleyYellow Transit Freight LinesOklahoma
1964Woodrow W. GivenService Lines, Inc.Tennessee
1965Russell L. BeaulieuBranch Motor Express Co.Rhode Island
1966Donald BeaudetteLand O’Lakes Creameries, Inc.Minnesota
1967James A. MartinB & L Motor FreightOhio
1968Wray MundyD C InternationalColorado
1969Frederick MarshWatt Transport, Inc.Rhode Island
1970Frank DeLuciaAdley Express Co.Connecticut
1971W.T. “Shorty” SmithCentral Freight Lines, Inc.Texas
1972Clarence HoffmanRaymond Motor Trans. CompanyMinnesota
1973Curtis C. StappSystem 99California
1974Wilbur “Bill” MoorePacific Intermountain Express Co.New Mexico
1975Calvin W. LaneCoors Transportation Co.Colorado
1976Harry R. ThomasRobertson Truck-A-Ways, Inc.California
1977Olen Lee WelkC&H Transportation Co., Inc.Dallas, Texas/Missouri
1978William M. WhimMid-American Lines, Inc.Kansas
1979Frank M. WaldronC&H Transportation Co., Inc.Arizona
1980Malvin B. MathewsComplete Auto TransitGeorgia
1981Kenneth W. OlsonMurphy Motor Freight LinesMinnesota
1982William G. YatesHobart CorporationOhio
1983Arthur E. SchooleyJack Cooper TransportMissouri
1984N.F. Plunkett, Jr.Chevron USAAlabama
1985John ChamberlainGiant FoodWashington D.C.
1986Davis C. WrichMacMillan Bloedel Bldg. MaterialsMaryland
1987Jack WilhiteLiquid Transport, Inc.Indiana
1988Louis E. MoraSierra Pacific Power Co.Nevada
1989Charles K. ThompsonNeal Oil Co. (APC)South Carolina
1990J. KooleSteelcase, Inc.Michigan
1991John D. PorterCon-Way Central ExpressOhio
1992Jerry PitraSuper Valu Stores, Inc.Minnesota
1993David P. MaphisHadley Auto Transport Co.California
1994LaVant BeanAnderson Trucking ServiceMinnesota
1995Floyd R. BuffingtonCF Motor FreightIllinois
1996David G. McDonaldRoadway ExpressKansas
1997Harold Likins, Jr.Farmland IndustriesKansas
1998James E. SheriffRoadway ExpressIllinois
1999Thomas W. HawksOvernite Transportation CompanyTennessee
2000William WhimABF Freight System, Inc.Kansas
2001Steven WilliamsNobel SyscoColorado
2002Kevin Scott HarrisABF Freight System, Inc.New York
2003Doris HansenQuality Transportation, Inc.Montana
2004Charles BrownYellow Transportation, Inc.Kansas
2005Larry SpringerCentral Freight LinesTexas
2006James WilcoxYellow Transportation, Inc.New Mexico
2007William Gray, Jr.UPS FreightMaryland
2008David J. MayCon-way FreightNew York
2009Keith SuitsRite Aid Rome Distribution CenterNew York
2010Anthony A. JonesCentral Freight LinesTexas
2011Dalton “Rickey” OliverWalmart Transportation, LLCMississippi
2012Ronald FullerCentral Freight LinesTexas
2013Gary BabbittCentral Freight LinesTexas
2014Carl SchultzDavis ExpressFlorida