DPD’s Stuart Watson is one of the UK’s best, most fuel-efficient truck drivers – but economy was the last thing on his mind when he swapped his 290 kW (394 hp) Actros tractor unit for a stint at the wheel of an awesome, 440 kW (591 hp) Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT supercar.
Stuart’s AMG Driving Experience at the stunning Mercedes-Benz World brand centre in Brooklands, Surrey, was his prize for success in the 2015 FleetBoard Drivers League competition. “That,” he declared afterwards, “was mind-blowing… quite simply, the drive of a lifetime.”
Now the manufacturer’s commercial vehicle telematics and fleet management arm is offering others the chance to win a thrilling Driving Experience, or a Mercedes-Benz ‘goody bag’, after launching the 2016 FleetBoard Drivers League.
The competition is designed to celebrate the safest and most economical commercial vehicle professionals on Britain’s roads. Entry is open to any operator or driver registering before 31 July, whose vehicle is fitted with an operational FleetBoard system.
Installed in more than 100,000 vehicles worldwide, this state-of-the-art telematics technology is well proven to deliver valuable fuel savings. FleetBoard is standard equipment on new Mercedes-Benz Actros tractor units and optionally available for Actros rigids together with Atego, Antos, Arocs and Econic models; it can also be fitted to trucks by other manufacturers.
The competitive phase of the 2016 Drivers League is already underway and runs until 31 August. The winners in both the individual and team categories will be determined on the basis of their FleetBoard Performance Analysis driving style scores.
As well as incorporating services such as vehicle tracking and mapping, logistics and time management, FleetBoard monitors and reports on driver performance against a range of criteria such as speed, braking, engine operation including stops and idle times while running, and use – where fitted – of the vehicle’s Eco-Roll function.
Drivers are graded from one to ten, with variables such as terrain, traffic conditions and vehicle loadings factored in so that scores are weighted to reflect the ‘degree of difficulty’ of assignments. Operators can then use this data to raise standards by motivating and incentivising drivers to improve, and providing training to address shortcomings in driving style.
For leading parcel delivery company DPD, winner of the 2015 FleetBoard Drivers League team award, the system has been an invaluable fleet management tool since 2010. The fast-growing operator, whose name has become a byword for quality and service, runs more than 800 4×2 tractor units, which pull mainly double- as well as single-deck trailers. Every one of these vehicles is a Mercedes-Benz and the majority are fitted with FleetBoard.
DPD’s Linehaul Development & Resourcing Analyst Tim Cadwell explained: “The system promotes a smooth, fuel-efficient and stress-free driving style. It allows us to monitor driver behaviour and foster a healthy spirit of competition between colleagues. We ask them to achieve a benchmark score of nine out of ten, which we believe is achievable given the level of training and support on offer. Below this, we intervene and target those areas in which they need to improve.”
DPD Driving Instructor Satnam ‘Sid’ Banga continued: “We use FleetBoard during our induction work. It encourages the individual at the wheel to plan ahead and anticipate changes in traffic conditions. Not only does this approach help to maximise mpg returns and prevent accidents, it also means the driver is more relaxed and therefore healthier.”
Stuart Watson won his high-performance AMG Driving Experience on the handling circuits and wet-skid circle at Mercedes-Benz World, after posting an outstanding FleetBoard grading of 9.73 in last year’s competition.
“The system definitely helps you to focus on forward planning and makes you more aware of what’s going on around you,” said Stuart, who trunks nightly from his base in Carlisle to the DPD hub in West Bromwich.
“Our internal tables mean you always have a good idea of how you’re doing relative to your colleagues, while the FleetBoard Drivers League is a great idea, because it offers the chance to pit yourself against the best in the industry.”
Mercedes-Benz FleetBoard Business Development Manager John Armes added: “All FleetBoard customers can participate in the 2016 Drivers League. There are some great prizes on offer, as well as the chance to progress to an international final – having registered online, entrants then compete against each other as they go about their everyday business behind the wheels of their trucks. It couldn’t be simpler!”
Eligible operators wishing to take part in the 2016 FleetBoard Drivers League can do so by registering at: