As the seasonal boom in e-commerce makes roads busier, the need to ensure safe and efficient driving becomes even more important, writes Paul Wilkes, business services manager at FORS.
Black Friday at the end of November heralded the start of the busy Christmas retail period, which will continue into the new year as consumers make the most of online deals and January sales. With regional, tiered Covid-19 restrictions in place across England, online shopping is expected to be more popular than ever, meaning more deliveries, which in turn means a greater emphasis on safety and efficiency for van drivers is essential.
FORS offers van operators and drivers a clear best-practice model. This includes training and online toolkits, starting at the Bronze entry level, where Professional Van Smart eLearning training aims to reduce work-related road risk and improve safety.
At FORS Silver, Van Smart training includes a classroom-based module, and on-cycle training, encouraging drivers to learn how vulnerable road users view the road. Van Smart training also helps van drivers learn anti-idling techniques and understand the importance of route planning and correct vehicle loading to help lower emissions and the costs associated with additional fuel use.
All Van Smart training is accompanied by the Van Smart Toolkit, with a driver handbook, and practical guidance that operators can use to embed best practice across their business. The toolkit helps operators reduce the likelihood of collisions by developing driver skills. It shows operators how they can reduce financial costs of any collisions that do occur – for example, in the areas of insurance premiums, insurance excess, injury claims, legal fees, repairs, and loss of business.
FORS also provides a one-day Fleet Management Essentials course specifically for operators who may not have had any additional fleet management training. The session covers driver competence and conduct, vehicle and load safety, and internal fleet quality management procedures, and is designed to help fleet managers understand how to raise standards within their fleets.
During the height of the first national lockdown delivery drivers were rightly considered key workers. The nation’s reliance on this mobile workforce is even more prevalent in a busy winter season – the contribution to the UK economy from the LCV sector is vast. It’s therefore necessary to make sure this fleet of drivers, for whom the roads is their place of work, are supported with the tools they need to ensure their safety and the safety of those who share the roads.
For more information on FORS visit www.fors-online.org.uk
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