The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has announced it has received a record-breaking number of entries into its Driver of the Year competition.

According to the FTA, entry numbers are almost double those seen last year.

Held in association with tyre giant Bridgestone, the competition is open to all UK drivers from any business sector and will be judged in three vehicle categories – van, 18 and 44 tonnes.

The 2017 edition will also see the introduction of a Young Driver of the Year competition, for those aged under 30, designed to recongise emerging talents within the logistics industry.

Those shortlisted for the finals will take part in an assessment day at Mercedes-Benz, where the winners and Young Drivers of each vehicle category will be named.

The first place winner will receive a £1,000 holiday voucher with second and third place receiving an iPad and a Red Letter Day voucher worth £150 respectively.

“Freight drivers are the lifeblood of British business,” said Carlie Nowell, head of events at FTA. “They have to be highly skilled in a broad range of areas including time management, load distribution, vehicle maintenance and legal compliance in addition to having top notch driving skills.

She added: “We have been delighted by the quantity and quality of the drivers who have entered this year’s FTA Driver of the Year competition, and are currently assessing each entry carefully to ensure we shortlist the very best representatives of the UK’s logistics sector.”

Whoever wins this year will follow in the tracks of Matt Pickering of Samworth Brothers Supply Chain. “Winning the FTA Driver of the Year was a great achievement. It was a wonderful accolade for me to be recognised for the hard work that we do to maintain the very highest standards of service for our customers,” he said.