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RTITB reinforces training necessity

RTITB reinforces training necessity

RTITB is encouraging employers to rethink their approach to Driver CPC Periodic Training in order to help achieve their business objectives.

“As Driver CPC Training is a legal requirement, some employers treat it simply as a tick box exercise - something that their drivers must do. However, it can be so much more than that,” explains Laura Nelson, Managing Director, RTITB, the largest Master Driver CPC Consortium in the UK. “Drivers must complete 35 hours of training during a five-year cycle. With proper planning employers can use this to their business advantage, while also improving safety and professional driving standards.”

Here are three examples of how RTITB Driver CPC Periodic Training can assist employers in meeting their specific business objectives.

Objective: Increasing fuel efficiency

Many businesses are tasked with increasing fuel efficiency and decreasing fuel costs.  Although the choice of vehicle is key in increasing fuel efficiency, driver behaviour also plays a big part.  By using the hours allocated to Driver CPC to deliver a Safe and Fuel-Efficient Driving course, drivers can not only benefit from the continued professional development that Driver CPC offers, but also learn the specific skills to be more fuel efficient. 

After implementing this training, one RTITB Driver CPC Consortium member was able to meet their fuel efficiency goals, increasing their average MPG from one depot by 0.9MPG. The company is set to extend this to 2.5MPG in the near future, which will deliver around £60,000 savings.

Objective: Improved roadside safety

Maintaining safety is often a core business objective for logistics and haulage businesses. However, the time taken to deliver comprehensive first-aid training to a large workforce can be challenging for employers in terms of both money and time. 

To overcome this while meeting a company-wide health and safety initiative, one RTITB Driver CPC Consortium member implemented an existing JAUPT* approved roadside incident management training course.  This covers the essential knowledge needed by drivers to reduce roadside risk and has been incorporated into Driver CPC training hours to ensure all drivers are trained by the end of the year.

Objective: Reduced damage

Reducing product wastage and damage is an important objective for many businesses looking to control costs.  Including a Load Safety module within Driver CPC training can help to meet this objective by educating drivers on correctly handling loads, and providing an understanding of how to appropriately secure different load types.  Manual Handling training can also be included in Driver CPC to help reduce wastage and damage. Contrary to popular belief, this training can cover more than just preventing personal injury. In fact, correct manual handling can reduce product damage, therefore minimising associated costs. 

By selecting the right Driver CPC training modules, vehicles and equipment can also benefit from less damage. A safe and economic driving module helps to prevent accidents and undue vehicle wear and tear, while a general Health and Safety module can cover the skills and techniques that save businesses thousands of pounds in vehicle and site damage.

Employers that join the RTITB Master Driver CPC Consortium have access to the extensive library of Driver CPC training modules, which can be chosen to suit an employer’s business objectives. RTITB can also create bespoke course content to meet the specific needs of businesses and drivers and incorporate the company values alongside RTITB’s high standards.

To help achieve maximum driver engagement, RTITB’s innovative Driver CPC Periodic Training modules can be delivered through quizzes, case studies, workshops, games and discussions, all in manageable 35-minute topics.

Training needed to stop LGV drivers using phones while driving

While general road safety is improving, research shows a worrying increase in mobile phone use whilst driving. RTITB, the UK’s largest Driver CPC Consortium, suggests that the right training can help LGV drivers change their attitudes towards this act of dangerous driving.

Although most people are aware of the dangers of using a mobile phone whilst driving, a survey by road safety charity Brake revealed that 55 per cent of drivers admit to talking on the phone while behind the wheel.  From March 2017, the penalty for using a hand-held mobile at the wheel in the England, Scotland and Wales was increased to an on-the spot fine of £200 and six points added to the offender's driving licence.

“This clamp-down on phone use when driving shows that authorities are taking the matter more seriously, but this seemingly isn’t enough to deter drivers,” said Nelson. “In order to change drivers’ attitudes to using a mobile phone while driving, companies need to deliver relevant, quality training, highlighting the dangers, and teaching how to eliminate this distraction.”

The ‘In Cab Distractions’ topic from the RTITB Master Driver CPC Consortium’s extensive training library explains how different types of distraction can impact a driver. From mechanical distractions, which engage the hands in jobs other than controlling a vehicle, to sensory distractions, which take over visual and auditory senses, and cognitive distractions, which take thinking resources away from driving.

RTITB suggests that part of the reason mobile phone use while driving is on the rise could be because of technology like Bluetooth, which enables drivers to easily connect devices to their vehicle. 

“For many, this normalises the use of mobile phones when driving, leading drivers to forget the dangers,” continued Nelson. “This means when hands-free isn’t available, drivers still go ahead and use their phone behind the wheel. We’ve seen a particular increase in texting whilst out on the road.”

It is illegal to use a hand-held phone while driving, and in some circumstances, using a phone hands-free is also not permitted. However, even in situations where using a hands-free mobile phone is legally allowed, this can still significantly distract a driver, impairing their visual, audio and cognitive senses. According to Brake, drivers speaking on phones are four times more likely to be in a crash that causes injury, whether on a hands-free or hand-held phone. 

“The real message to deliver to drivers is that they should avoid using their phone, even hands-free, whilst driving as there are already so many distractions to contend with,” adds Nelson. “Although they are designed to benefit the driver, sat-nav systems, PDAs and Tachograph systems all contribute to distraction.”

“That said, new technologies can also support increased safety and prevent drivers from being tempted to use their phones,” Laura continues. “For example, the newest iPhone models have been intelligently designed so that they can automatically switch to ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode when the user is driving.”

Some people still incorrectly believe that using a phone whilst the vehicle is stationary is acceptable. However, the driver is always responsible for the vehicle in a live road environment. Even if the truck isn’t moving, an LGV driver’s surroundings could change in an instant. When stopped in traffic or at a red light, the driver’s focus and attention should solely be on being a safe road user, and using a mobile phone can distract from that.

RTITB has seen many examples where changing the company culture around mobile phone use and incorporating relevant training can change driver attitudes and increase safety.  In addition, by reducing accidents, both the number, and value, of vehicle insurance claims can often be driven down, delivering a financial benefit for businesses.

“To help companies tackle this important issue further, in 2018 we will be releasing a new Driver CPC training topic specifically about avoiding mobile phone use when driving,” concluded Nelson. “This is designed to help more companies raise awareness amongst their drivers that although technology has changed, the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving have definitely not.”

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