A Driving Champ

Supply Chain

Road Team member JB Quarles has a passion for teaching safety skills to Walmart drivers.

In many ways JB Quarles is a typical Walmart driver. But that’s only because there’s really nothing typical about our drivers. The average Walmart driver tends to be, well, above average!

Just look at JB’s stats: Since he started with Walmart 20 years ago, he has traveled 1.5 million accident-free miles (and boasts 2.6 million total career miles). In 2018, he joined the Walmart Road Team, an elite group that serves as ambassadors for both Walmart and the professional driving industry. That same year, he became a Walmart certified driver trainer (CDT). Since 2011, he’s also earned dozens of wins in national, state and local driving competitions.

Driving competitions provide JB the opportunity to help other drivers practice their skills while continuing to improve his own. Training drivers to be part of the safest fleet on the road requires passion, skill and leadership. “I take the role of teaching safety very seriously,” JB says.

A repeat winner

In spring 2023, JB was named South Carolina’s 5-Axle Champion, and he won the state championship (for the seventh time, in six different classes! His goal is to win the state championship in all nine classes, which he says would make him the first driver ever to do so in South Carolina!). That win qualified him to compete at the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC) — basically the truck-driving Olympics. At the championships, each driver takes a written examination, a pre-trip inspection test, and a skills test. 

One tricky maneuver, the rear stop, asks drivers to position their truck’s rear bumper within 18 inches of a designated line. Competitors are scored in 3-inch increments! (Can you imagine backing up a 63-foot truck to within a 3-inch margin?!)

The event takes place August 2023 in Columbus, Ohio, and Walmart will be represented by 47 drivers. JB and other Road Team members have been coaching drivers across the country to help them prepare. They quiz drivers for the written test and even set up obstacle courses to practice for the skills portion.

A pre-trip pro
JB’s specialty is pre-trip inspection, and he’s the defending pre-trip champion of Walmart's national competition. 

Pre-trip is when drivers inspect their trucks from top to bottom, inside to outside, before they get on the road — every time. For example, each 5-axle semi-truck has 100 lug nuts to inspect, and that’s just one small part of the total pre-trip process. The close inspection ensures every safety standard is met.

“Pre-trip is so important,” JB explains. “It helps us be the best of the best.”

Competition pre-trip is a little different: Drivers must find 15 defects planted on the truck. Speed and accuracy count. And JB’s method is fast and exact! “I help drivers create a routine to find defects fast,” he shares. “I take a lot of pride in it.”

A team player
One of the many things that stands out about JB is not only the pride he takes in a job well done, but in teaching others to do the same. “What I love about my job is teaching other Walmart drivers to become better, safer drivers,” JB says.

We wish JB and his fellow Walmart drivers luck in the upcoming competition — though they probably don’t need it. They’ve already got what it takes to go the distance!