19 May 2017

Commercial Vehicle Telematics Awards Celebrate Safety and Heroism of Lorry Drivers  

2017 Event Hails Best in UK Road Haulage

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Shipping News Feature UK – Rafal Kolanko of Samworth Brothers has been unveiled as the 2017 Microlise Driver of the Year Award winner. Following a process involving narrowing down over 120,000 of the UK's most talented HGV drivers, the awards aim to recognise and acknowledge the vital work and the professionalism displayed by lorry drivers in their day-to-day work.

Kolanko was shortlisted, and subsequently won, the medium distance category, featuring drivers who regularly undertake a mixture of journeys and typically cover between 31,000 – 60,000 miles per year. In securing the overall prize, he also saw off competition from shortlisted and winning drivers in both the short and long categories, confirming his position as one of the UK’s leading drivers.

The short, medium and long categories are based on data collected by Microlise telematics units. Now in their third year, these telematics-based awards are defined by analysing anonymous data assessed against a range of criteria, using a process defined by the University of Nottingham’s Advanced Data Analysis Centre.

The short distance category was won by Michael Young of Culina, with the long distance category won by Peter Jones of Chamberlain Transport. Chamberlain Transport also won the Driver Excellence award, as a result of having the highest proportion of their drivers in the top 1,000 based on analysis of the telematics data.

The independent judging panel included Road Haulage Association Chief Executive Richard Burnett, Freight Transport Association Deputy Chief Executive James Hookham, Motor Transport Editor Steve Hobson, RTITB Head of Technical Services Nick Welch, and Microlise Executive Director Bob Harbey.

The awards featured additional categories, based on nominations from the industry, including Extra Mile, HGV Hero, Lifetime Achievement, Most Improved and Young Driver of the Year. For these the judges reviewed nominations which were submitted online through the Microlise Transport Conference website.

Especially noteworthy are the two winners of the HGV Hero category. John Harrington of DHL helped to save the life of an elderly gentleman suffering a heart attack after being flagged down. His counterpart at Eddie Stobart, Robert Brown, attended the scene of a road traffic collision and crawled into a smashed up car to comfort a frightened young girl until the emergency services arrived. Microlise Executive Director Bob Harbey, said:

“When we started the awards a few years ago, we intended to focus entirely on drivers and shine a light on the excellent work they are doing day in and day out. They really are at the heart of the transport industry and we wanted to use our unique position to review anonymous driving data from hundreds of thousands of drivers to showcase the best performers. All of the winners, those short-listed and the top thousand deserve credit for the excellent work they are doing and the way they conduct themselves.”

The full shortlist of 24 drivers enjoyed a Porsche track day courtesy of MAN Truck & Bus UK, are listed below including the winners for each category.

Microlise Driver of the Year Awards shortlist:

Short Distance Winner: Michael Young – Culina Runners-up: Alan Cobb – Ceva and Anthony Fieldhouse – DX Freight

Medium Distance Overall Winner: Rafal Kolanko – Samworth Brothers Runners-up: Mark Close – Brocklesby and Anthony Niles – Culina

Long Distance Winner: Peter Jones – Chamberlain Transport Runners-up: Jason Jeffry – Goldstar Transport and John Seggons – Bibby Distribution

Driver Excellence: – Sponsored by Road Haulage Association Winner: Chamberlain Transport

Extra Mile: – Sponsored by Knorr-Bremse - Winner: Stuart McClellan – Bibby Distribution Runners-up: Neil Salmon & Clive Everson – B&Q and Peter Cochrane – Samworth Brothers

HGV Hero: – Sponsored by Dunlop - Winners: John Harrington – DHL and Robert Brown – Eddie Stobart

Most Improved Driver of the Year: – Sponsored by Scania - Winner: Catherine Eastbourne – Warburtons Runners-up: Clive Sutton – Bibby Distribution and Michael Roberts – Royal Mail

Young Driver of the Year: – Sponsored by Vodafone - Winner: Laura Farnsworth – Samworth Brothers Runners-up: Thomas Virtue – Hovis and Grszegorz Kepinski – Muller

Lifetime Achievement: – Sponsored by Freight Transport Association - Winner: Richard Ireson – Tesco Runners-up: Paul Thompson – Bibby Distribution and John Seeley – Hovis

Photo: The best driver received his award from motoring journalist Quentin Willson.

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