The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. announced it is now accepting nominations for its 2012 North America Highway Hero Award that honors truck drivers who put themselves in harm’s way to help other people. Deadline for nominations, which can be made at www.goodyeartires.com, is Jan. 31, 2012.

Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the award, which was created to elevate the image of professional truck drivers.  Last year’s Highway Hero winner, Mike Schiotis, a truck driver from Spring Hill, TN, rescued a woman from a crazed, gun-wielding attacker.

“The Goodyear Highway Hero Award is the first – and most prestigious – award of its kind,” said Phillip Kane, vice president of Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. “The 30th anniversary of the award will be extra special, and we look forward to crowning an equally special winner.”

Past Highway Hero winners include a driver who pulled an elderly man from a car before it was destroyed by an oncoming train, a driver who rescued two girls who were trapped in a burning car and a driver who jumped into a pond to save a child who was stuck in a rapidly sinking car.

“These are just a few of the many acts of heroism that our Highway Hero Award winners have performed since the Goodyear Highway Hero program was created in 1983,” said Kane. Through the program, we’ve heard hundreds of stories about truck drivers’ bravery and selflessness. We’re looking for more stories, and National Truck Driver Appreciation Week – which runs from Sept. 16 through Sept. 22 – is the perfect time to begin the Highway Hero Award nomination process.

“If you know of a truck driver who has performed a selfless act, including putting his or her own safety at risk, to help someone else, please tell us,” Kane added.

The winner of the award — considered among the most prestigious in trucking —will receive a $5,000 cash award, a custom Goodyear Highway Hero ring and other prizes. The person who nominates the winning Highway Hero will receive a $1,000 cash award.

To nominate a candidate for Goodyear’s 30th North America Highway Hero Award, go to www.goodyeartrucktires.com, click on the Highway Hero button, fill out the online form and send your nomination directly to Goodyear.

For consideration, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Nominee must be a full-time truck driver.
  • Nominee must reside in the U.S. or Canada.
  • The incident must have occurred in the U.S. or Canada.
  • The nominee must have been on the job – or on the way to and from work – and in his or her rig at the time of the incident.
  • At the time of the incident, the nominee’s truck must have had 12 or more wheels.
  • The incident must have taken place between Nov. 16, 2011, and Dec. 15, 2012, to qualify.

After the nomination period ends, the list of Highway Hero candidates will be pared down to four finalists. A panel of trucking industry judges will then select the winner. The winner will be announced during the Mid-America Trucking Show at Louisville next March.