HE has only been behind the wheel for two years but a Henty truck driver has taken out the title of Young Driver of the Year.
Steven Richardson, 22, fended off strong competition from finalists 10 years his senior to claim the award during the Livestock, Bulk & Rural Carriers Association (LBRCA) conference in Griffith recently.
The award aims to support young drivers who demonstrate a best practice approach to driving and safety and encourage more youth to uptake the career.
Mr Richardson, a third generation truckie, now works for his family's company, Richardson and Sons Haulage, carting bulk commodity grains from Newcastle to Melbourne and everywhere in between.
While he initially studied and became a qualified diesel mechanic, Mr Richardson always had a love for the trucking industry.
"I wanted to be a truck driver since I was a toddler," he said.
"I'm a third generation driver so it started from a young age.
"I love it. You get to see the scenery, you are your own boss and you are not under any deadline."
Mr Richardson was shocked when he was announced the winner having been 10 years younger than the other two entrants, Ricky Hetherington of Madderns Livestock Transport at Bega and Luke Farrell of Divalls Earthmoving and Transport, Goulburn.
But the judges commended Mr Richardson's industry professionalism at such a young age.
He will now travel to America gifted $5000 towards his trip, which will include visits to Kenworth factories and bulk loading sites.
The competition kicked off in 2014 with this year's judging one of the closest.
LBRCA president Paul Pulver said the award was focused on safety but also retaining youth within the trucking industry.
"There is a real issue with young people not wanting to get into the transport industries and this is one of the things we are doing to try and get them in," he said.
Three of the past Young Driver of the Year winners have been elected onto the nine person executive committee, further proof of the award's success.