Winners of the FTA Drivers of the Year titles announced

The winners of the Freight Transport Association (FTA) Driver of the Year titles have been announced.

Thomas Kent achieved overall first place in the 44 tonne competition, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Trucks, while Reece Cornelius was named FTA Young Driver of the Year award in the same category. Both drive for Samworth Brothers Supply Chain, and demonstrated outstanding professionalism, knowledge and excellent driving skills during the finals of the contest.

Lee Graves of WH Bowker took second place in the 44 tonne category, followed in third by Malcolm Roberts of BOTT Ltd.

The winner of the 18 tonne competition, sponsored by Bridgestone, was Craig Stewart of Clarke International. Rob Morris of Bibby Distribution came in second place, while Jamie Jarman of Simply Waste Solutions took third. Lee Hawkins of Greggs was named Young Driver of the Year in the category.

Steve Mumford of BT Supply Chain won the FTA Van Excellence Driver of the Year competition sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Vans UK Ltd.

The winners of all three contests will be assessed and the overall winner of FTA Driver of the Year 2017 will be revealed at the Transport Manager Conference at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on 29 November.

The competition took place at Mercedes-Benz, Wentworth Park, Barnsley, with each driver taking part in six separate tasks to evaluate their overall ability: driving style, economical driving, manoeuvring, defect checking, knowledge of legislation and risk awareness. The 12 finalists, who had been nominated by their fleet manager, were individually scored on each task, ranked on their performance and the overall winner based on the scores.

Mike Belk, managing director of Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK, said: “Truck drivers are the lifeblood of the road haulage industry, and the drivers who took part in the FTA 44 tonne Driver of the Year competition are a fantastic advertisement for the logistics sector. Every single one deserves praise and recognition, and we’d particularly like to congratulate the winners.”

Winners of the individual tasks during the 44 tonne contest were:
• Risk assessment supported by Licence Bureau – Thomas Kent, Samworth Brothers Supply Chain
• Legislation test – Thomas Kent, Samworth Brothers Supply Chain
• Pre-use defect check supported by Bridgestone Partners – Vincent Clarke, Booker Ltd
• Manoeuvring– Simon Blurton, NFT Distribution
• Economical driving supported by Signal Vehicle Solutions – Lee Graves, WH Booker
• Driving Style supported by Fleetboard – Karl Barman, Viamaster Transport.

The individual task winners in the 18 tonne contest were:
• Risk assessment supported by Licence Bureau – Sean Preston, Greggs
• Legislation test – Mike Pyrah, PJ Carey Group
• Pre-use defect checks supported by Bridgestone Partners – Rob Morris, Bibby Distribution
• Manoeuvring – Geriant Edwards, Seconds and Co
• Economical driving – Guntis Paberzie, Greggs
• Driving Style supported by Microlise – Pamela Dennison, WS Dennison.

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