UK Drivers Earn FTA Crowns

It’s the season of awards – and no, I’m not talking about the Emmys! The FTA has just announced its Driver of the Year in the 18 tonne section, as well as its Van Excellence Driver winner. Yes, that’s right: after undergoing demanding practical and theoretical tests, two highly skilled motorists from two UK haulage companies were rewarded for their unrivalled competence behind the wheel.

About The Annual Competition

Just in case you haven’t heard about this contest, let me fill you in. The FTA Van Excellence Driver of the Year competition took place from September 12 to 14 in Wentworth Park in Barnsley. While the overall competition was sponsored by Mercedes-Bens Vans UK Limited, Bridgestone supported the 18 tonne CatID. Both companies were thrilled to back the nation’s best hauliers and to reward the hard work of both haulage companies and their HGV drivers.

How Is The Winner Chosen?

You’re probably wondering what the judges were looking for when choosing the Driver of the Year, and should rightly be wondering if you could be next year’s prize taker. Well, to assess the haulage companies’ nominated hauliers, each finalist took part in six disparate tests, which served to demonstrate their general abilities. Drivers were assessed on their driving style and on how economical it was. What’s more, they were evaluated on their manoeuvring abilities and on their capacity to identify defects in the vehicle. The final two tasks assessed their knowledge of both legislation and risk awareness.

About The Tests

Twelve finalists, who hailed from various haulage companies and were put forward by their fleet managers, took part in the competition. Each nominee had to compete for their evaluation while completing the six assessment tasks. Those competing in the Van section took their test on 12 September, while those entered in the 18 tonne CatID completed their assessment the following day. They earned points based on their performance in each task. Subsequently, they were ranked from highest to lowest score, and the winner was the individual with the most points.

2017 Winners

After undergoing these rigorous tasks and taking on drivers from haulage companies across the country, it was Steve Mumford, a haulier for BT Supply Chain, who was crowned the overall winner of the Van Excellence Driver of the Year CatID. Craig Stewart, a talented driver from Clarke International, then became the winner of the Driver of the Year 18 tonne section for 2017. Both were congratulated on their “outstanding professionalism, knowledge and excellent driving skills”.

This year, the FTA also decided to add a new sub-CatID to each vehicle CatID, entitled The Young Driver of the Year. Any entrant under the age of 30 was eligible for the award. The results are now in, and Lee Hawkins, who works at Greggs (the haulage company, not the bakery!), was named Young Driver of the Year in the 18 tonne CatID, while Luke Froggatt of AMEY earned the Van Excellence Young Driver of the Year award.

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage companies with jobs in road transport and haulage work. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment. 

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