Driver training is good for health and safety reasons and has environmental benefits too
In an ideal world, every company driver would choose a Toyota Prius, run it on biofuel and jump at the chance of car sharing with Derek from accounts.In the real world, however, a more practical solution is to train employees to drive smarter, so they guzzle less fuel.
Nick Sutton, chairman of Provecta Car Plan, says: “In the short term, drivers should undergo driver training; this is not only part of an essential health and safety policy, it will also lead to cost savings as drivers are taught to change bad driving habits and adopt greener and more economical ones.”
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He estimates that employers who fund driver training can expect to save 10% on fuel costs in the first year.
Driver training can also help reduce employers’ exposure to risk, a key issue with the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, due to come into effect on 6 April. David Stanley, head of business development at Carillion Fleet Management, says: “The act will make employers more aware of [driving] risks.”
Mandie Kemp, managing director of cleaning product firm Futures Supplies, has sent company car drivers on training courses: “It teaches awareness of fuel efficiency relating to driving style, and how reduced idling can save fuel and help the environment,” she says.
Sadly, not all drivers will put these techniques into practice. However, telematics equipment, such as global positioning system (GPS) technology, can help improve driver behaviour. Gadgets can be fitted to cars to track fuel use, emissions, vehicle location and speed. Incentives can also be used to reward drivers who squeeze more distance out of every gallon.
DOs and DON’Ts of smarter driving
• DO check tyre pressure. Get tyre pressure checked monthly, as under-inflated tyres make cars burn more fuel.
• DON’T exceed the speed limit. As well being far safer, slowing by 10mph saves 40p on fuel for every 10 miles.
• DON’T brake or accelerate sharply. This can cut fuel costs by 30%.
• DO clear out the boot. Carrying unnecessary stuff wastes petrol.
• DON’T be idle. If you’re likely to be at a standstill for more than three minutes, switch off the engine, rather than waste fuel while stationary.
• DO switch off air con. Energy-draining air conditioning and windscreen wipers increase fuel consumption.