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Turning Lorry Drivers Green

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In any industry, everyone from top management down should endeavour to engage in a regular programme of self-improvement or training in order to be at the top of their game. In the transport industry, particularly for a lorry driver, there are actually certain legislative requirements that need to be undertaken to remain compliant. However, there are other initiatives that, while voluntary, are highly desirable for a lorry driver to take part in. One new government training programme is set on teaching UK hauliers to drive in a more eco-friendly manner by being less aggressive on the roads. Here's how.

"Green" Driver Training Initiative

The new initiative, set up by the DfT (Department for Transport), will offer training to drivers with the aim of teaching them techniques required to drive less aggressively – therefore lowering their fuel consumption and, consequently, their emissions. As part of the government's commitment to improving air quality (through their Clean Air Strategy document, which includes the proposed banning of petrol and diesel cars by 2040), they will provide 10,000 drivers with training in 2017.

Calmer Driving, Cleaner Air

The UK government's Clean Air Strategy claims that aggressive driving on the part of hauliers is a major contributor to rising pollution levels across the country. Even the most responsible lorry driver can inadvertently burn unnecessary amounts of fuel by using excessive speed, hard acceleration and constant high engine revolutions.
Preliminary rollouts of the educational programme’s scheme have shown that HGV drivers typically have a 15% reduction in their fuel consumption after just one lesson. Government representatives predict that the benefit of supplying these sessions to 100,000 drivers across the country could have the same – or a similar – impact as the removal of older, non-compliant vehicles from the roads.

Large Firms First

The programme, which is part of a £2.8 million scheme run by the DfT and the Energy Savings Trust, is being offered in the first instance to haulage firms with large fleets. Eventually, however, it will be extended to all commercial drivers and private motorists if it proves successful.

Targeted Training

Any lorry driver who takes part in the training can expect to learn a range of techniques and behavioural modifications that are designed to reduce their fuel consumption. These will include:

• Reduction of speed and acceleration (in HGVs, fuel consumption is up to 27% less when driving at 60mph as compared to 75mph)
• Reduction of drag by removing extraneous accessories, such as roof racks that are not in use
• Driving techniques for using higher gears at lower speeds
• Education in reducing the use of air-conditioning.

In addition, driving instructors will be offered training in methods of fuel-saving driving, which can – and should – be passed on to new drivers.

Driving Towards A Cleaner Britain

The UK haulage industry plays a vital role in keeping the national economy healthy, but it must also take a fair chunk of responsibility for its unhealthy pollution problems. Training programmes that are focused on lowering drivers’ fuel consumption are an excellent step towards the government's eventual target of zero emissions on our roads.

About author: Desiree Michels

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage loads with an available lorry driver in the right area. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.

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