At the age of 80, Maria Benton decided she was ready for a new career and a decent paycheck. She enrolled in Central Tech’s Truck Driver Training program to fulfill her life-long dream of being a long-haul truck driver. Benton completed the program in December 2015 and has now qualified for her CDL.


“Maria Benton came to our program with one goal and that was to obtain her CDL. She worked harder than any student in the class to obtain that goal. I wish all our students had the work ethic Maria has,” said Jeff Rogers, Central Tech Truck Driver Training instructor.


Benton led an interesting life. At 18, she flew a glider over Holland, Canada, and the U.S. in competition, and at 22 she flew an airplane for the Air Force cadet school. She says flying was so much fun and it was a quiet, peaceful environment.


Later, Benton become a race car driver. She competed in many international cross-country races including: the Paris Dakar Rally, the Vancouver Montreal Rally, Shell for 1000, and the Sports Car Club of America race where Paul Newman participated. She was invited three times to race in their prestigious National Top Three Championship rally.


When asked about retirement, Benton said, “Those who retire in front of a TV with a beer in hand are the first to die. I think to be healthy, you have to stay active,” and so she is.


Benton plans on working for a long-haul company as part of a team and looks forward to the next stage of her life.


For more information about Central Tech’s Truck Driver Training program, visit or call 918.352.7311 or 800.458.7825.