Last updated on October 3rd, 2021 at 03:53 pm
On Sept. 28, H-E-B truck driver Danny Guerrero Jr. reached a milestone that few in his field achieve – driving four million miles consecutively without a single accident or traffic incident, an achievement only one other H-E-B driver has ever reached.
He officially hit the mark as he drove his trailer to the H-E-B warehouse on Rittiman Road in San Antonio, Texas. When he arrived, his official tally was 4,000,017 consecutive miles unscathed.
After he parked his rig, he emerged from the truck and waved at family, friends, fellow H-E-B drivers and company leaders who all gathered to celebrate his milestone.
“This is unbelievable,” said Guerrero, who enjoys chewing spearmint gum and listening to country and rock music to help pass the time behind the wheel. “I didn’t expect it. I started at 21 years old … it’s something you get used to and if you like it, you’re going to hang onto it.
“Those last few miles driving here were stressful. But I made it and now I’m alright,” he added.
Guerrero, whose CB handle is “Non-Stop,” began his H-E-B career as a sanitation employee at the grocery warehouse in December 1979. A little over two years later, he became a full-time H-E-B driver. In 1994, he became the 58th employee to be inducted into the H-E-B Truck Driver Hall of Fame, and he was named the H-E-B Driver of the Year in 2010.
As a driving instructor, Guerrero trained many H-E-B drivers who are current Hall of Fame members, and his training has led to more than 16 million consecutive safe driving miles for other H-E-B drivers.
“We are super grateful, proud and thankful for his many years of service and for the standard he set in the profession,” said Carson Landsgard, H-E-B EVP of manufacturing, supply chain and logistics. “We’re super proud of all our drivers. We truly have the best team in all the industry. But it takes individuals like Danny to take the bar and set it high. In certain professions there are individuals who are superstars, who you admire and respect for doing the impossible. Danny gets to be in that elite status today.”
During his tenure with H-E-B, Guerrero spent most of his time as an overnight driver, making runs to the Rio Grande Valley. Along with his daily deliveries, he safely maneuvered his trailer to support during several bad weather incidents and natural disasters such as hurricanes Dolly and Katrina.
In his nearly 40 years as a driver, he averaged about 100,000 miles per year to reach four million, which is equivalent to more than 160 trips around the Earth. On average, motorists drive about 13,500 miles per year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. At that rate, it would take an average driver nearly 300 years to reach four million miles.
“It’s an honor that we recognize this tremendous accomplishment, and it’s a very important one, too,” said Todd Wright, group VP of transportation. “He’s doing it while moving up to 80,000 pounds of product up and down Texas highways alongside other motorists. So, it’s even more important that he does it safely. That’s what he and all our drivers do each and every day.”
In 1985, H-E-B launched its Truck Driver Hall of Fame to honor those employees who have achieved at least one million safe miles on the road. Currently, there are more than 400 in the Hall of Fame, and over half are still active drivers. Of those, nearly 80 have achieved two million safe miles, and nearly 20 have achieved the three-million-mile mark. Only one other driver, Andres Corona, has achieved four million safe miles. He hit the mark in 2014.
Guerrero, who now wears four star pins on his shoulder to signify his accomplishment, is among other H-E-B employees who achieved major safe driving milestones this year. Recently, H-E-B honored three drivers who each achieved three million safe miles.
In July, Efrain Garza, a driver from Weslaco, became the 17th driver to achieve three million consecutive safe miles. He joined the company in 1990 and achieved Hall of Fame status with one million consecutive safe miles in 2002. He reached two million consecutive safe miles in 2012.
Earlier this month, Corpus Christi employee Eric Orozco, CB handle “Terminator,” became the 18th driver to hit three million safe miles when he passed the small town of Hillje in route to Houston. An H-E-B employee since 1984, Orozco became a driver in 1998.
Soon after Orozco’s milestone, Corpus Christi employee Beningo “Benny” Zamudio, CB handle “Shark,” achieved three million safe miles. Zamudio, a 24-year H-E-B employee, became the 19th driver to hit the mark when he passed Braunig Lake in transit to San Antonio.
Now with four million miles in his rearview mirror, Guerrero said he has no intention of trying for five million. Still, with a driving record that was described as impeccable and flawless, Guerrero shared some words of wisdom to help make Texas roads safer.
“You don’t have to speed,” he said. “Take your time. You’ll get there.”