According to the RTITB Instructor Academy, some transport industry employers are missing out on cost savings by not having ‘Safe and Economic Driving’ Instructors and could benefit from incorporating this in Driver CPC training.
“Ensuring LGV drivers are trained for safety and efficiency is of course beneficial for their development and wellbeing, but it also can result in measurable business benefits, such as cost savings,” says Simon Docherty, Manager at the RTITB Instructor Academy, the only dedicated ‘train the trainer’ centre in the UK and Ireland for workplace transport. “Regardless, equipping drivers with the right safe and economic driving skills begins with having correctly trained Instructors.”
At the RTITB Instructor Academy, the Safe and Economic Driving Instructor course equips training professionals with the knowledge and skills to train drivers in this important area. Following a comprehensive course and four part practical and theory assessment enables Instructors to deliver training to LGV drivers and educate them in the requisite skills around traffic awareness, driving style, route planning, vehicle preparation, loading, and customer scheduling.
Better traffic awareness, for example, can decrease the time spent stuck in traffic jams, improving fuel efficiency, as well as helping to maintain customer satisfaction and reduce driver stress. Urban driving training is also covered to increase drivers’ awareness of their surroundings, such as different road types, enabling them to problem solve on the job and work more efficiently.
“Next day deliveries and high demand for quick turnaround puts professional commercial drivers under tremendous pressure to get the job done quickly,” says Simon. “With safe and economic driver training, they will learn how to cope under the strain while completing day-to-day tasks, which we’ve found results in improved efficiency for the business.”
Learning how to drive economically is also an important part of the training in terms of measurable benefits to the business. Techniques such as gentler brake use (or the use of secondary braking systems, such as exhaust brakes), correct gear use, and gradual acceleration, all help to reduce fuel consumption and costs. They also help to protect vital components such as brakes, tyres, steering and suspension, contributing to reduced maintenance and repair costs. Trained Instructors can also introduce drivers to new vehicle technologies, designed to offer fuel efficiency, and explain the varying capabilities of different vehicles.
The importance of effective and thorough vehicle checks is another significant training focus, which can help to drive down vehicle running costs and ensure any faults are spotted. This in turn reduces the risk of lost time and repair costs due to a breakdown. Checks include tyre pressure, rips or tears in curtain sides, loose panels and body work and debris caught up under the vehicle.
“Effective, quality training in safe and economic driving is a powerful tool for employers to make cost savings, while enhancing their business efficiency and adhering to safety and legal requirements,” adds Simon. “What’s more, it can also be delivered as part of the legally required Driver CPC Periodic training, making it easily achievable within your existing training programme.”
As part of ongoing Driver CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) Periodic Training, qualified Driver CPC Instructors can deliver training on a wide range of subjects to aid safety, efficiency and professional development, including modules on Safe and Economic Driving. Depending on the needs of the business, this may include topics around planning, efficiency, fuel consumption, telematics and driving style and can also cover the driving skills needed for urban or rural environments.
To equip employers with the ability to deliver in-house Driver CPC Periodic Training that supports their business objectives and the needs of their LGV drivers, the RTITB Instructor Academy provides Driver CPC Instructor Training that results in a formal qualification.
“Regardless of how you choose to deliver the Safe and Economic Driver Training course to employees, it’s a vital part of enhancing the way your fleet operates,” says Simon. “It allows you to reduce unnecessary costs in your business and maximise safety.”
“Improving drivers’ professional skills and behaviours through quality training instruction also helps to dispel the, often, negative perception of LGV drivers by other road users,” he continues. “This helps keep your drivers engaged, loyal and happy and also makes LGV driving a more attractive option for a long-term career.”
For more information on Safe and Economic Driving Instructor training or Driver CPC Instructor training available from the RTITB Instructor Academy, visit www.rtitb.co.uk/academy or call the expert team on +44 (0) 1952 520214.