Lorry driver pulls ahead to claim national industry award

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A South Normanton freight driver is celebrating this week, after motoring ahead to win top prize in a prestigious national competition.

Craig Stewart, 44, who works for Clarke International in Alfreton, was named as the Freight Transport Association (FTA) Driver of the Year in the 18 tonne category.

The competition took place at the Mercedes-Benz, base in Barnsley, where each driver took part in six tasks to evaluate their overall driving ability – driving style, economical driving, manoeuvering, defect checking, knowledge of legislation and risk awareness.

Craig said: “I was very surprised when they said my name. The standard was so high across all the finalists it must have been hard to pick a winner. I’m over the moon.”

Competing against 15 other finalists, Craig excelled, demonstrating outstanding professionalism, knowledge and skill.

Terry Salter, of award sponsor Bridgestone, said: “The 18 tonne vehicle category was especially competitive this year, we were delighted to put our name alongside it.

“Bridgestone is proud to recognise the hard-working professionals who make commercial motoring so great.”

He added: “We are always looking at ways to promote the hard work of commercial vehicle technicians.

“We pride ourselves on serving society with superior quality and there so many professional drivers do likewise for their own companies, employers and customers.”

The finalists were each 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.

Category winners will be assessed, and the overall winner of FTA Driver of the Year 2017 will be revealed at the Transport Manager Conference at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on November 29.