The weather managed to hold for FTA Driver of the Year 2017 at Mercedes Benz’ head office in Tankersley last week. Microlise were in place to monitor safe and fuel efficient driving style and ensure that the celebration of good driving skills was based on the factual data provided by our system.
So often, van drivers are judged for their skill as an engineer or plumber or whatever their primary job is. Driving a van for work is viewed by many companies, often with large fleets of vehicles, just as an enabler.
The negative impact of poor driving on a company from a corporate social responsibility and a public relations perspective shouldn’t be underestimated. The importance of highlighting good driving skills is paramount. With schemes like Van Excellence, the FTA are working hard to place an emphasis on good van driving, giving it the recognition it deserves.
That’s where the FTA’s Driver of the Year competition comes in. Open for entry to drivers who work for Van Excellence accredited companies, the competition offers a chance for those drivers, regardless of their day job, to shout about their van driving skills.
At the centre of the competition was the driving style challenge handled by Microlise. The 19 competitors were asked to drive a specific 30 minute course in a safe and fuel efficient manner.
To increase the challenge, we chose not to install our sav-nav system, arming drivers with nothing more than a map sheet and directional arrows en-route! Their driving style was monitored through our telematics system (where parameters were set at a competition standard) and a driver league table was supplied to the FTA for assessment.
Sounds quite straight forward, right? The reliance on sat-nav nowadays very quickly became apparent! One driver got hopelessly lost driving the route and took a total of 2 hours and 8 minutes. We were monitoring him using our mapping and when he pulled over to call in, we guided him back. Thankfully, route adherence wasn’t part of the challenge and in spite of the challenging circumstances, the driver still managed to maintain a very good driving style.
There were also lots of light-hearted activities such as manoeuvring a remote control vehicle round a set course in the quickest time and a team challenge to load the most boxes into a van. More serious aspects involved fault finding during a vehicle check challenge and van manoeuvring.
Overall, four drivers managed to achieve an ‘A Grade’ driving style with no harsh acceleration, harsh cornering, speeding or harsh braking instances recorded and they managed to remain within green band for over 85% of their drive. When MPG was compared, the winner was clear.