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SAFED for Vans successfully trains 10,000th driver

5 January 2009

SAFED (Safe And Fuel Efficient Driving) for Vans has successfully trained its 10,000th driver since the programme was launched in 2006 by the then Secretary for Transport, Ruth Kelly. With an average saving of £500 per driver per year, SAFED for Vans could save participating businesses a total of £5million per year in fuel costs alone.

Through tips learnt on the scheme the 10,000 drivers could be saving up to 13,000 tonnes of CO2 annually as well as driving in a safer way, and helping to bring down accident rates on UK roads.

This is clearly a cause that RoadSafe is supportive of the reason that the Driving for Better Business programme is working in partnership with SAFED.

Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said:

"To train 10,000 in less than 3 years is a real achievement with important benefits for road safety and the environment.

"In difficult economic times driver training can provide a real boost to business by improving fuel efficiency and teaching the driving skills necessary to keep vans in good condition.

“I look forward to seeing SAFED training its 20,000th driver before long."

SAFED is a driver development programme aimed at improving safe and fuel-efficient driving techniques, resulting in a significant reduction in fuel consumption - an average 16% saving on training days.

Businesses who take advantage of the benefits of SAFED training, can generate a payback within approximately 3 months.

The 10,000th driver was Simon Miller from BT Openreach. He was trained by Steve Heyworth of RoSPA, who has been working with SAFED to deliver the driver training programme throughout England.

Steve said:

"I was delighted to learn that Simon was the 10,000th driver to go through SAFED training. He is a young driver and seemed very happy to take part in some positive training that focused on safety as well as fuel-efficiency.

It is a pleasure to be involved in the programme that RoSPA is running with BT, and I particularly enjoy seeing the surprise on the drivers' faces when they realise how much fuel can be saved by changing their driving technique. The safety aspect of the training is also crucial and, through SAFED's aim to develop a smooth style behind the wheel, there is a clear crossover between safe driving and fuel-efficient driving techniques."

Tony Holt, BT safety adviser for travel and transport, said:

"SAFED (Safe And Fuel Efficient Driving) training makes sense for safety, financial and environmental reasons. Driving economically uses less fuel and helps with safety. The training focuses on the development of a smooth driving style and keeping within the speed limit, both of which mean fewer trips to the fuel pump, and SAFED techniques can also reduce wear and tear on the vehicle, cutting maintenance and repair costs. The most important thing to us at BT is safety, making sure our drivers go home at the end of their shift. In addition to this there are significant cost savings to be had by reducing the amount of fuel used by our fleet of 44,000 vans."

SAFED training has shown some impressive results, with drivers trained in SAFED techniques improving their MPG by an average of 16%, reducing the number of times they change gear by nearly 35% and reducing the number of demonstrated faults by an impressive 60%: and all without any major impact on the journey time.

The training is currently available for light commercial vehicle (LCV) drivers, and heavy goods vehicle drivers, with funding support available from the Government for LCV drivers, and drivers of HGV’s who spend more than 30% of their time or mileage hauling aggregates.This funding is provided on a first come first served basis so interested companies need to act quickly to ensure they benefit.

Funding is also available to support the training of in-house SAFED trainers and assessors on the Vans programme.In-house trainers must be ADI Fleet registered and once trained, can deliver subsidised training to their colleagues.In-house Assessors do not need to be ADI registered – their role is to identify and prioritise the SAFED training need within their organisation.

To find out more about how business benefits can be gained from SAFED training visit www.safed.org.uk or call the helpline on 0870 190 8440.