The FTA Truck Driver of the Year 18-tonne competition has taken place, and the winner for 2016 has been announced. The much-anticipated Truck Driver of the Year 18-tonne competition finished on the 13th of July. The final was intense, showcasing some of the best examples of high-quality haulage work in the country, with 12 finalists battling it out for the coveted crown. Eventually, the title went to David West, of Total Foodservice Solutions, who came out at the top of a dozen finalists.
The Truck Driver of the Year 18-tonne award was introduced in order to honour the achievements of the haulage industry’s diligent and skilled professionals, while also giving haulage workers a way of distinguishing their fleet - both in terms of driver expertise and safety compliance - to potential clients.
The competition is made up of a number of tests, all of which are developed with careful reference to the realities of the industry in order to ensure that the competition is relevant and the results meaningful. The final comprised five tests, each designed to test a different aspect of working in the haulage industry.
Competitors had to complete a fuel economy driving task, which tested their ability to minimise fuel consumption while carrying out everyday haulage work. Driving skill and manoeuvrability were tested in a driving style task as well as a manoeuvring task, ensuring that drivers were at their best in unexpected situations on the road.
The competition also recognised the value of off-road skills, with a legislation awareness test to ensure that drivers were up to speed on road laws. As well as this, it included a pre-use defect check task, wherein drivers had to identify potential problems with a vehicle without driving it. David West triumphed in the 18-tonne category, taking home the title of 18-tonne Truck Driver of the Year. In second place came Stephen Bainbridge, of Hargraves Logistics, while Michael Lomax of Booker Ltd. won third place. Each driver has not only earned the honour of being some of the best haulage workers in the country, but also a dramatic and positive publicity boost for their company.
The competition is a direct descendent of the Van Excellence Driver of the Year events, which have taken place every year since 2014 and which this year took place the day after West’s victory in the 18-tonne trucking competition. As well as giving much deserved recognition to hard-working drivers, the events also aim to raise awareness of the importance of haulage work, as well as increase public support for people working in the industry. Additionally, it is hoped that the standard set by the finalists will ensure that fleets across the country continue to meet the very highest standards for fuel efficiency and safety compliance.
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