70 year old driver, Mick McHugh, has been named as construction and infrastructure group Morgan Sindall's Driver Challenge winner.
The quarterly competition was launched last year with the aim of developing and rewarding best practice on the road.
McHugh drives a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, supplied by dealer Midlands Truck & Van, which account for around half of Morgan Sindall’s fleet of 520 vans.
Like the operator’s 80 trucks, all are fitted with telematics that monitor driving style. As part of this challenge, instances of speeding, harsh braking and acceleration, and severe cornering, for example, attract ‘penalty points’, as do extended periods of engine idling.
At the end of the period the driver with the lowest score is the winner, with successful drivers receiving cash prizes and certificates to mark their achievements.
Morgan Sindall fleet development manager, Steve Kirby said: “Our primary aim in introducing the Driver Challenge was to reduce work-related road risk and CO2 emissions by encouraging colleagues to drive in a smooth, efficient manner. This has also led to a reduction in operating costs.”
Kirby said Morgan Sindall chose the Sprinter for its fuel efficiency and towing capacity: “They return about 23 mpg in our operation, which tends to be between 1.5 and 2 mpg ahead of our other vans."
The company’s Mercedes-Benz vans work with trailers that carry mini-diggers at gross weights of 2.4 tonnes – its 3.5-tonne Sprinters are specified with increased towing capacities and can pull up to 2.8 tonnes.
McHugh, who often tows a mini-digger throughout Gloucestershire as part of his work on an electricity network contract, won the latest round of the challenge with a score of 57 points, 19 clear of the runner-up.
“I pride myself on being a careful driver, and am quite gentle with the right foot,” he said. “The Sprinter is a lovely, comfortable drive and excellent when it comes to fuel economy. I’m always fully loaded and usually pulling a trailer too, but it’ll still return up to 28 mpg on motorways and around 20 mpg in town, which is very good.”
He added: “I’ve driven a few vans over the years but this Mercedes-Benz is definitely the best yet. Having celebrated my 70th birthday in June I suppose I should be putting my feet up now, but I’ve no plans to retire just yet. I enjoy the work, getting out and about and meeting people – it keeps me active. And I love driving my Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.”