Haulage companies across the UK are being urged to enrol their drivers on to a smart motorway driving course offered by Highways England.
Aimed at commercial and haulage drivers, the eight-hour, single-day training session has been designed by Highways England in conjunction with the Freight Transport Association (FTA) to provide practical, relevant training to drivers who travel on smart motorways.
Covering the past, present and future of smart motorways, the different signals on the network, driver behaviour and the role of traffic officers, a key aspect of the course is that it now integrates into the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC), the standard qualification for which all professional bus, coach and lorry drivers must complete 35 hours of training every five years.
Senior partnership manager at Highways England, Wayne Carey, said: “Hauliers are among the most frequent users of smart motorways so we want to ensure we are providing as much support as we can to ensure those journeys are as safe as possible.
“Smart motorways reduce congestion, improve journey time reliability and add much needed capacity to some of the most congested sections of motorway and we are delighted with the take up to date of this course.
“We urge any haulier who wants to sharpen up their skills to sign up.”
One of the first organisations to undertake the training was Muller, whose logistical operations rely heavily upon the Strategic Road Network (SRN).
Jen Cowie, Logistic Support and Development Manager at Müller, felt that, as an organisation, any tools they were able to equip their drivers with to make better, safer decisions made good and practical business sense, with this initiative being no exception.
She said: “It’s essential that our drivers are fully equipped to deal with their surroundings. We are delighted to be working with Highways England on this training, from concept to delivery, and we continue to work together closely, which not only benefits the business, but the overall road network.”
Highways England’s call to hauliers came alongside a number of other initiatives related to commercial vehicle safety launched at this year’s Commercial Vehicle Show.
Speaking at the event, Malcolm Bingham, head of road network management policy at the FTA, explained why his organisation were so keen to become involved, “FTA was conscious that hauliers would appreciate more advice about driving on smart motorways. That is why we’ve has worked in partnership with Highways England to produce the training module which is now approved for use on the Driver CPC course programme.
“This is the right way forward – providing drivers with true guidance on how to use the network and not adding confusion about which parts of the road they can use and when. That has been borne out by driver feedback on the pilot courses we have run.
“It also demonstrates the need to respect the Red X signs set up when there is a problem on the network and provides assurance that these lanes are a vital tool in keeping drivers save in emergency situations.”
For more information, or to enrol, please email