One of my favourite days each year is the Van Excellence Driver of the Year event and this year was no different.
We always seem to be blessed by the weather and it was a sunny Thursday in Barnsley (does that sound like a Smiths tune?) which welcomed 11 of the very best van drivers to compete in this year’s event sponsored by LeasePlan and fantastically supported by Mercedes Benz who gave us the run of its Wentworth Park facility.
We test the drivers over six elements – a fuel efficiency drive coupled with feedback on their driving style, a legislation test, risk awareness, fault identification with a fiendish pre-use vehicle check and a manoeuvring challenge and, as you’d expect from the best of the best, they were all exceptionally competent.
The overall winner was Matt Young from AAH Pharmaceuticals who took away a fabulous trophy and a £1,000 holiday voucher – not a bad day’s work!
Lisa Hanley (G4S) and Gary Day (Riverford Organic Farms) were second and third respectively.
So what did I take from the day?
My overwhelming impression was we have so many really competent and conscientious van drivers doing a challenging, pressured job in frequently difficult conditions. They, and the businesses they work for, make our way of life possible by delivering medicines, maintaining the infrastructure, bringing groceries and all the other activities we take for granted.
Perhaps it’s too much to expect Joe Public to see all this good stuff rather than focusing on the very small minority of drivers and operators who sometime give our industry a bad name. All we can do is keep spreading the word!
Congratulations also go to Matthew Pickering from Samworth Brothers Supply Chain, winner of the FTA Driver of the Year – 44 tonne award and David West of Total Foodservice Solutions, winner of the FTA Driver of the Year – 18 tonne award. Deserving winners both!
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)