Microlise has launched its 2021 Driver of the Year awards.

The initiative shortlists drivers by analysing a year’s worth of Microlise telematics performance data to identify the most talented short-, medium- and long-distance candidates.

The process involves the Microlise data science team, who will initially analyse in excess of 250,000 drivers’ telematics records from 2020.

Data will be anonymised with company, contract and driver personal identification information removed.

Initially developed in conjunction with the University of Nottingham’s Advanced Data Analytics Centre, the process will help identify the best performing drivers.

Five additional nomination-based categories - Young Driver, Most Improved, Lifetime Achievement, Driver Hero and Extra Mile - are also open to the entire driver community, regardless of whether Microlise telematics technology is used.

Drivers and transport managers are invited to nominate their colleagues with employers then being asked to support the nomination and provide further qualitative evidence that may result in a driver being named as a winner.

An independent judging panel will shortlist three drivers in each category and oversee the awards process.

“These are the most comprehensive awards for drivers of heavy commercial vehicles," said Microlise executive director Bob Harbey. "Our data science team uses the latest technology to evaluate data from hundreds of thousands of anonymous drivers, to help us to understand who is the country’s best driver.

“This is one of our favourite projects in the year as it allows us to celebrate the tremendous contribution drivers make to the transport industry and to our economy as a whole and given the extraordinary logistical challenges of 2020, there has never been a better time to applaud them.”

Gist driver Gillian Brooks won last year's Microlise Driver of the Year award - and also the long distance category, featuring drivers who regularly undertake journeys of 60,000 miles plus per year.

Nominations can be made at the Microlise Driver of the Year award website on or before Friday 19 February.