What can this achieve?

Whilst all levels of staff within a transport undertaking have a part to play in reducing a company’s environmental impact the driver arguably has the greatest influence by the way in which he or she drives and operates the vehicle.The provision of training and development opportunities will provide a cost-effective way of getting the best out of individuals. Many older drivers have probably been driving lorries for between 30 and 40 years and possibly believe that their knowledge, based on the many years of practical experience, cannot be improved. Experience has shown this not to be the case, the Safe and Fuel-Efficient Driving (SAFED) course, delivered an average mpg improvement of 5%, with some experienced drivers achieving up to a 15% improvement.

Improvements such as this are important and in today’s climate with rising fuel costs, together with higher operating costs, no fleet manager can afford to ignore any possible route to savings.
Safe and Fuel-Efficient Driving (SAFED) programme

The SAFED programme was developed for Freight Best Practice on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT) by a steering group of industry experts.

The training programme is aimed at drivers of HGVs and vans and is designed to improve overall fuel consumption, whilst assisting fleet managers with improving vehicle utilisation, accident rates, vehicle downtime and maintenance costs.

The programme consists of a full day of instruction assessment and practical experience.

Benefits of fuel-efficient driver training-

Based on average improvements seen during the SAFED programme, the benefits to the transport operator include:

  • Reduction of £700 in fuel costs per vehicle per year for a large goods vehicle
  • Reduction of carbon dioxide emission of around 2.6 tonnes per year
  • Reduced accident rate
  • Less damage to vehicles
  • Less unproductive downtime
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Reduced insurance premiums

The benefits of continuous improvement

A forward looking company will be constantly looking to keep its drivers knowledge and experience updated using appropriate training courses, printed material and training aids, such as DVDs and interactive computer exercises.

The following benefits will result from the undertaking of a programme of continuous improvement within a transport company.

  • A more skilled driver team
  • Reduced accident rate
  • Lower insurance premiums
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Lower fuel bills
  • Reduced environmental emissions
  • Enhanced company image
  • Improved employee satisfaction
  • A more committed workforce
  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Improved recruitment

Vehicle familiarisation

Modern heavy goods vehicles are quite complex and provide a very different driving experience from earlier vehicles of the type many HGV drivers would have driven during their initial training. In order to get the best out of any vehicle it is important that the driver is familiar with all aspects of the controls. Reading the driver’s handbook produced by the vehicle manufacturer is a good starting point, and will certainly appraise the driver on what controls, features and equipment are fitted to a vehicle. It is also worth considering providing the driver with additional training in relation to driving and getting the best from a new vehicle. The vehicle manufacturer or supplying dealer may well be able to offer a driver familiarisation training package.

Benefits of ensuring the driver is familiar with the vehicle and how to obtain optimum performance from it include:

  • Improved MPG
  • Reduced carbon dioxide emissions
  • Less wear and tear
  • Reduce maintenance cost
  • Less downtime
  • Better end of life residual value


Next steps…

The Energy Savings Trust website has a list of accredited Ecodriving trainers and courses, and Logistics UK also provide a SAFEDrive Driver CPC training module.