The winners of the Freight Transport Association’s Driver of the Year competitions have been announced.

Thomas Kent of Samworth Brothers Supply Chain won the 44-tonne competition, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Trucks, ahead of Lee Graves from WH Bowker and Malcolm Roberts of BOTT.  Reece Cornelius, also of Samworth Brothers Supply Chain, was named Young Driver of the Year in this category.

Craig Stewart of Clarke International became overall champion in the 18-tonne contest, ahead of Bibby Distribution’s Rob Morris and Jamie Jarman of Simply Waste Solutions.  Lee Hawkins of Greggs was named Young Driver of the Year in this category.

All the drivers demonstrated outstanding professionalism, knowledge and excellent driving skills during the finals of the contest.

The competition took place at Mercedes-Benz, Wentworth Park, Barnsley, with each driver taking part in six separate tasks in order to evaluate their overall ability – driving style, economical driving, manoeuvring, defect checking, knowledge of legislation and risk awareness.  The 12 finalists, who had each been nominated by their fleet manager, were individually scored on each task, ranked on their performance and the overall winner was based on the scores.

“Truck drivers are the lifeblood of the road haulage industry, and the drivers who took part are a fantastic advertisement for the logistics sector,” Mike Belk, the MD of Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK, said.  “Every single one deserves praise and recognition, and we’d particularly like to congratulate the winners.

“Mercedes-Benz Trucks champions driver efficiency and road safety, and the winners have shown themselves to be exceptionally proficient in both elements.  These professionals – and their employers – can be proud of their achievements.  Many congratulations to them all.”

Steve Mumford of BT Supply Chain won the FTA Van Excellence Driver of the Year, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Vans UK Ltd.

The winners of all three contests – van, 18-tonne and 44-tonne – will be assessed, and the overall winner of FTA Driver of the Year 2017 will be revealed during the Transport Manager Conference at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on 29 November.