Mathew Young of AAH Pharmaceutical is the winner of the third annual FTA Van Excellence Driver of the Year competition.
Young become the overall champion by demonstrating outstanding professionalism, knowledge and excellent driving skills.
The competition took place on Thursday 14 July, at Mercedes-Benz Wentworth Park, Barnsley, where 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 being presented by Mark Lovett, head of Commercial Vehicles at LeasePlan (pictured right), who said: “We are delighted to support the FTA Van Excellence initiative for the third year running. 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.”
Young (pictured left) has been driving a van for 18 years and took home a £1,000 holiday voucher alongside his trophy. The Swansea based delivery driver told commercial fleet: “The whole day was good fun, I enjoyed the challenges and the chance to prove my ability behind the wheel.
“The hazards awareness and legislation tests were more challenging as they covered a wide range of scenarios for all different types of driver.”
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 was announced based on their scores.
FTA introduced three separate driving contests this year following the 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 followed the 44 tonne contest and the 18 tonne contest. Other winners from the Van Excellence event were: Lisa Hanley from G4S (second place) and Gary Day from Riverford Organic Farms (third place)
The winners of all three contests 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.