MATTHEW Young of AAH Pharmaceutical is the FTA Van Excellence Driver of the Year 2016, the overall champion chosen after demonstrating outstanding professionalism, knowledge and excellent driving skills throughout.
Runner-up was Lisa Hanley of G4S with Gary Day of Riverford Organic Farms third.
The competition sponsored by LeasePlan for the third year was held at Mercedes-Benz Wentworth Park, Barnsley. Each van driver took part in six separate tasks during the event in order to evaluate their overall ability – driving style, economical driving, manoeuvring, defect checking, legislation knowledge and risk awareness.
The winner was announced by FTA’s head of vans Mark Cartwright, with the prizes presented by Mark Lovett – head of commercial vehicles at LeasePlan – who said: “We share the same vision the FTA and work in close partnership to jointly promote best practice in van drivers and the vital role that they play.
“The Van Excellence Driver of the Year competition is the perfect platform to help change the perception of ‘White Van Man’ as it showcases the best of the best van drivers. They have been able to demonstrate their professionalism and prove that they are some of the most competent and professional drivers on the UK’s roads.”
The 12 finalists of the contest were nominated by their fleet manager who had recognised their professionalism and skills. Each was individually scored on a variety of tasks, ranked on their performance, and the overall winner based on their scores.
FTA introduced three separate driving contests this year following the hugely successful Van Excellence Driver of the Year events in 2014 and 2015. The competitions celebrate the skills and abilities of professional drivers across the whole sector and aim to raise awareness of the importance of freight and logistics.
The Van Excellence Driver of the Year sponsored by LeasePlan UK, followed the 44 tonne contest sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Trucks, and the 18 tonne contest sponsored by Bridgestone.
The winners of all three contests – 44-tonne Truck Driver, 18-tonne Trucker Driver and Van Excellence – will be assessed, and the overall winner of the FTA Driver of the Year competition 2016 will be revealed at the Freight in the City expo at Alexandra Palace on 2 November.