The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) named a former military veteran and long-time professional truck driver as this year’s International Driver Excellence Award (IDEA) recipient.
In an August 2 announcement, the CVSA named Ruth McDonough as the 2022 IDEA recipient.
McDonough has been with Hittman Transport Services as a specialized commercial motor vehicle driver responsible for hauling radioactive and nuclear loads. She has worked for Hittman for a decade.
The CVSA says that McDonough “has been driving large vehicles – in the military and as a commercial motor vehicle driver – for more than 40 years and approximately 4 million miles, all incident free.”
“I was absolutely shocked when I found out I won this award,” said McDonough. “I had tears in my eyes.”
McDonough shared tips she’s learned in her four decades of safe driving.
“I always keep my eyes moving and look ahead as far as I can,” said McDonough. “I check the ramps for incoming vehicles, I check around my vehicle, I check my mirrors. With open-bed freight, you check your mirrors a lot.”
“I also like to look through the back windows and mirrors of the vehicles in front of me,” she added. “You can observe a lot by looking inside the vehicles around you, such as the driver’s head bobbing, indicating that they might be sleepy or fatigued.”
The CVSA detailed McDonough’s professional driving and military career:
McDonough’s trucking career began in 1979 when she enlisted in the U.S. Army. She received basic training and truck-driving training at Fort Dix in New Jersey as one of only a few women in her class. Upon completion of training, McDonough was assigned to the 181st Transportation Battalion 51st Transportation Company in Mannheim, Germany, which is a movement control unit that provides tailored and adaptive transportation, expeditionary logistical capabilities for transportation, movement control and distribution in support of U.S. European Command. McDonough supported transportation operations in Germany by safely delivering armored personnel carriers, ammunition and general supplies. She earned the Army Achievement Medal for her time in Germany. She was then stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as part of the 839th Transportation Company where she received the Driver of the Year Award at the retirement ceremony of the unit.
After her military service, McDonough continued her transportation career by working as a professional truck driver. She worked at Tri-State Motor Transit Company, out of Joplin, Missouri, and was one of the first women drivers to work for companies such as Hershey Chocolate in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Mountain Valley Spring Water Company in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
In December 2011, McDonough was welcomed to the Hittman Transport Services team and has been proudly supporting the radioactive and nuclear field with Hittman ever since. Hittman Transport Services transports low-level radioactive waste and is one of the largest trucking companies for hauling nuclear fuel in the U.S. Its drivers transport shipping casks, vans and flatbeds throughout the U.S. and Canada. McDonough is one of few women who support the nuclear transport industry.
To be nominated for a CVSA IDEA award, a driver must have at least 25 cumulative years of crash-free driving in a commercial motor vehicle with a clean driving record for the past three years, no felony convictions, no safety-related driving suspensions in the past three years and no driver violations in the past three years, excluding form and manner violations.