Trained heavy vehicle drivers are much safer drivers
Two things that are close to the heart of the heavy transport operators are safety and fuel efficiency. These factors influence how reliable, relevant and competitive operators are perceived to be, which in turn contributes to their smooth operations and financial viability.
During a recent review by the NZ Transport Agency of the SAFED NZ driver development course, it was found that SAFED NZ not only delivers fuel savings and environmental benefits, it also has a significant impact on the safety of drivers and their driving behaviour.
Rick Barber, the Transport Agency’s Regional Manager for Access and Use in the Northern region, says, “It was very pleasing to learn that this development programme has quantifiable benefits in terms of safety outcomes. We knew about the improvement in fuel consumption and emissions, but to see the reduced levels of speed offences by SAFED drivers is fantastic.
“Taking SAFED NZ drivers only, prior to taking SAFED NZ, between 13% and 16% of the offences committed by these drivers were speed related. After taking this course, this dropped to between 3% and 4%.
“During interviews we found a great deal of enthusiasm for the use of this driver development course. It was also encouraging to find that the sector believes that SAFED NZ is a worthwhile training programme that provides value for money.
“Virtually all people interviewed noted that SAFED NZ promotes and increases safe driving, which is great news given the high priority we give to road safety.
“It’s also encouraging to note that over 4,200 drivers have undertaken the SAFED NZ course to date; an indication that this driver development opportunity is well received.
“The further good news for businesses is that those trained have experienced an average fuel saving of 6.24%. These are all great outcomes and a testimony to the value of partnerships across the sector to develop relevant programmes that create benefits for all.”
What is SAFED NZ?
Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving New Zealand (SAFED NZ) is a comprehensive one-day, off-the-job driver development course. It teaches safe and fuel efficient driving techniques through a combination of theoretical and practical exercises. It is generally delivered on a two-one ratio (two drivers with one instructor). There are two separate courses: one for truck drivers, and one for bus and coach drivers.
The programme has been developed to allow both vehicle operators and training providers to carry out driver training for the road transport industry.
Is there a link between road safety and fuel efficiency?
A fuel efficient driving style is closely linked with improved road safety. Adopting simple fuel efficient driving techniques gives drivers more time to identify hazards and react to them.
Applying safe and fuel efficient driving techniques learnt through SAFED NZ can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent. Ongoing savings on repairs and maintenance are also achieved. This can make a big difference to the bottom line of any operation.
Who is involved in SAFED NZ?
While SAFED NZ is now being administered by the NZ Transport Agency, it came about as a result of a partnership between the Ministry of Transport and the Transport Agency. It is being supported by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, Bus and Coach Association, New Zealand Contractors’ Federation (now Civil Contractors New Zealand) and the Road Transport Forum. The SAFED NZ programme has been running in New Zealand since 2010.
Visit www.safednz.govt.nz (external link) for more information on the programme.