COURSE ORGANISERS ARE TARGETTING TOWN AND CITY CENTRES IN A BID TO TRY AND IMPROVE DRIVING STANDARDS THROUGHOUT THE INDUSTRY. MICHELLE GRIEVES REPORTS ON WHAT EFFECT THEY COULD HAVE IN THE FUTURE
As we all know, safety is paramount throughout the heavy haulage industry, and the introduction of Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) strived to improve safety and help maintain high standards of driving. Many operators welcomed this standard with open arms, and around 1.1 million hours of Driver CPC training was logged in July 2014 alone. As the dust settles on the first round of training, it’s clear that operators are dedicated to these safety standards across the transport, heavy haulage and abnormal load sector. Drivers are now becoming used to the idea of completing seven hours of training each year for the next five years in order to maintain their CPC qualification.
Many already established within the industry gained ‘acquired rights’ when the scheme was first introduced, removing the need to undertake the initial four part qualification. However, in order to retain the qualification and continue driving professionally, all individuals must complete the required 35 hours of training every five years, regardless.
Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world and the aim of Driver CPC is to maintain these standards by encouraging drivers to keep their skills up to date, and develop their knowledge in new subject areas. The Certificate is not an optional extra, it is now an essential part of the industry’s everyday routine, and the majority of fleet operators have built this into driver training programmes. However, only training delivered by a Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT) approved centre can count towards the 35 hours.
TRAINING AND LEARNING
As Driver CPC percolates throughout the country, companies are delving deeper into training needs and opportunities, looking for those which offer that something extra, something new and added skills for their workforce. One course that is currently gaining momentum is Safe Urban Driving. Originally developed by Cycle Training UK and Hackney Council, the Safe Urban Driving course takes drivers out of the classroom and gives them first-hand experience of the changing streetscape, the vulnerability of other road users and the chance to see the road from a different perspective.
Enraptured by Team GB’s success at London 2012, many across our green and pleasant land have donned their helmets and taken to the road, changing the urban environment and providing new challenges within our industry.
It’s no trade secret that Britain’s roads are getting busier and as transport specialists we must continue to develop our skills to adapt to this environment. The rules of the road are slowly being re-defined and professionals within the industry must embrace these changes, the longstanding battle of cyclists versus motorists is a thing of the past.
Many may be more comfortable on six wheels rather than two, but this unique course takes drivers out of the cab and in to the saddle offering practical on-road training, the first course in the UK to do this. Allowing drivers to ‘swap places’ offers a valuable insight into the vulnerability of cyclists and other unprotected road users and provides a ‘cyclists-eye’ view of the environment around them. Not only does this afford drivers with a cyclist’s perspective, but by working with local cycling professionals, cyclists are being given access to the world of heavy haulage.
“As National Cyclist Instructors we fully embrace the Safe Urban Driving course, noticing the change in behaviour that LVG drivers display after listening and having practical experience of swapping roles is a joy to see.” states Tom Murray from Professional Cycle Coaching, a firm advocate for the course having delivered several training sessions at local firm Collett & Sons Ltd. But the course is not only for the benefit of the drivers, the cyclists also gain a valuable insight into our industry. “The added benefit of the course is that we are now getting first-hand views and experience from LVG drivers which we can pass on to cyclists when we deliver other cyclist only training courses,” continues Murray. This new collaboration between the world of haulage and the world of cycling effectively shares expertise and helps all involved gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by both parties.
ROAD DEATH REDUCTION
Every year in this country around 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured in reported road accidents, including approximately 3,000 who are killed or seriously injured. For collisions involving a bicycle and another vehicle, the most common contributory factor recorded by police is “failure to look properly”, by either the driver or the rider (according to RoSPA, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents). By bringing the world of cycling and transport professionals together, the transport industry demonstrates its commitment to improving road safety, increasing driver awareness and in turn providing cyclists with the opportunity to view the environment from a different perspective.
Under the recently published Standard for Construction Logistics: Managing Work Related Road Risk (WRRR), Safe Urban Driving has now been made mandatory for contractors and sub-contractors who deliver to construction sites, and failure to meet these requirements could result in vehicles being turned away.
TfL aren’t the only ones enforcing these rules, as other businesses from small developments to large scale projects introduce similar guidelines the importance of this training becomes apparent. Granted London is currently leading the way and carrying the torch, but others begin to follow in their lead and, as transport professionals, we must ensure that we comply with these requirements to be able to continue to expand our businesses and serve the industry.
SCHEME ROLLOUT PLANS
The availability of the Safe Urban Driving courses has historically been centralised in and around the capital, or has required a set number of drivers to attend resulting in downtime for the operator. The need for a more flexible solution has resulted in one operator developing more accessible training. “By fully committing to driver training requirements, we have created a Safe Urban Driving course that has been JAUPT approved for delivery as part of an LGV drivers CPC periodic training,” states Andy Mullen, training manager at Collett & Sons Ltd. “This course is now available to companies similar to us who cannot afford to have drivers taken away from operations to attend a similar course located in London, or can’t meet the requirements of having a guaranteed number of drivers attend on the same day for the course to be delivered.”
JAUPT-approved Safe Urban Driving can count towards the required 35 hours and with the initial Driver CPC goal of developing knowledge in new subject areas it certainly ticks all the boxes. We may not be the first in line for Team GB selection, but drivers and operators throughout the industry are developing their awareness of cyclists and other vulnerable road users within the urban environment, committing to this investment in their workforce and taking advantage of the opportunity to expand their knowledge.