After a week of comprehensive training and intense competition at the North American Inspectors Championship (NAIC), the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is pleased to announce that Michael Trautwein with the Houston Police Department has earned the Jimmy K. Ammons Grand Champion Award, the highest honor for a commercial motor vehicle roadside inspector.
Trautwein was announced as this year’s Grand Champion and accepted his trophy on Aug. 19 at the joint awards ceremony of CVSA’s North American Inspectors Championship and the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships. This year’s NAIC Grand Champion will also attend and speak at the awards luncheon on Sept. 21 at the CVSA Annual Conference and Exhibition.
This is the second time in NAIC history that a local member has won Grand Champion; both wins have been from the Houston Police Department.
In addition to the NAIC Grand Champion Award, other notable awards were earned by this year’s competing inspectors.
The one inspector who scores the most points representing each of the three participating countries – Canada, Mexico and the U.S. – in the competition receives their country’s High Points Award. The following High Points Awards were presented:
- Sean McAlister High Points Canada Award – Caitlin Philbrick – British Columbia
- High Points Mexico Award – Luis Leon Merino Gomez
- High Points United States Award – Michael Trautwein – Houston Police Department (Local)
First, second and third place awards were given for the following inspection categories:
The North American Standard Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods and Cargo Tank/Bulk Packagings Inspection is an inspection of the requirements related to identifying hazardous materials/dangerous goods markings, labeling, placarding, packaging, identification, etc.
1. Tomasz Krolak – Minnesota
2. Michael Trautwein – Houston Police Department (Local)
3. Jeremy Feigley – Arizona
The North American Standard Level V Passenger Carrier Vehicle Inspection is an inspection of motorcoaches and other passenger-carrying vehicles. Passenger vehicle certified inspectors are specially trained commercial motor vehicle enforcement personnel equipped to inspect the unique aspects of a motorcoach and its driver, while also taking responsibility for the safety of passengers.
1. Michael Trautwein – Houston Police Department (Local)
2. Andrew James – Arkansas
3. Michael Brooks – Pennsylvania
The North American Standard Level I Inspection is the most commonly performed inspection. It is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness.
1. Caitlin Philbrick – British Columbia
2. Michael Trautwein – Houston Police Department (Local)
3. Andrew James – Arkansas
The Team Award is given to the team with the highest combined score. The team with the highest score this year was the Yellow Team, led by team leader Aaron Edwards with the Indiana State Police. The Yellow Team had the following members:
- Ramiro Lamas Jr. – Alaska
- Caitlin Philbrick – British Columbia
- Benjamin Sarian – Hawaii
- Timothy Guinn – Louisiana
- John Hadaway – Nebraska
- Dakota Barnhart – South Carolina
- Roberto Pinedo – Utah
- Teresa Burchard – Wisconsin
NAIC contestants voted to present the John Youngblood Award of Excellence to Everardo Segueda with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The John Youngblood Award of Excellence is an honor NAIC contestants bestow upon a fellow competitor who exemplifies high standards and unwavering dedication to the profession. It’s the only award whose winner is selected by their peers. Contestants voted for the inspector who exemplifies the spirit of cooperation, leadership, a professional image, a dedication to their profession, a positive attitude, organizational ability and congeniality.
After two years of cancellations, this year’s NAIC was the first championship since 2019. This year, 48 commercial motor vehicle inspectors came together in Indianapolis, Indiana, to compete at NAIC, the only event dedicated to testing, recognizing and awarding commercial motor vehicle inspector excellence.
NAIC is a week-long training event and inspection competition where jurisdictions in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. sends their top inspector to represent their jurisdiction, receive valuable training and compete against other top inspectors for the ultimate title of NAIC Grand Champion.
Every year, since the start of NAIC in 1993, the inspectors’ competition has been co-located with the ATA’s drivers’ competition. Co-locating the drivers’ and inspectors’ competitions provides the opportunity for certified inspectors and professional drivers to interact with, learn from and support each other throughout the week. This is an important aspect of co-locating the two events and a benefit that is crucial to fostering a positive relationship between members of the two organizations.
At the start of the week, each inspector received two days of hands-on training on the latest safety information, technology, standards and procedures. This year, inspectors received training on a battery-electric vehicle and an autonomous vehicle. Inspectors received classroom and hands-on training on a heavy-duty commercial battery-electric vehicle, provided by Nikola Corporation. In addition, Kodiak Robotics exhibited an autonomous long-haul commercial truck equipped with the Kodiak Driver, its advanced autonomous trucking technology, for the training portion of the championship. This was the first autonomous truck to be featured at NAIC, giving inspectors the opportunity to examine and experience autonomous technology firsthand.
For the competition, each contestant competes in six inspection categories over two days. The competition includes identical vehicles from which contestants must identify regulatory violations and critical vehicle inspection item out-of-service conditions, all while being timed. Contestants are tested on real-world vehicle and driver inspection scenarios and must appropriately evaluate the situation and properly identify violations within the recreated roadside inspection scenario. Inspectors are tested on the out-of-service criteria, inspection procedures, hours of service, hazardous materials/dangerous goods requirements, passenger carrier vehicles (motorcoaches) and more.
NAIC was created to recognize roadside inspectors and enforcement personnel – the backbone of the commercial motor vehicle safety program in North America – and to promote uniformity of inspections through training and education.
Next year’s NAIC is scheduled for Aug. 15-19, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio.