Van Driver Toolkit – outstanding product of the year
National Highways has won a coveted Fleet News Award for its Van Driver Toolkit, developed by the Commercial Vehicle Incident Prevention Team as part of the Driving for Better Business programme. It won ‘Outstanding Product of the Year 2022′- so, as April sees us focus on risk management for those who employ drivers, it seems a great time to highlight the benefits of this free tool.
The free van driver toolkit available to fleet managers and transport managers, features more than 30 free online modules for van driver training, aiming to make the UK road network safer for all users and to support operators, managers and, importantly, drivers, better understand their duties and responsibilities.
Managing risk – driver fatigue and driver distraction
The Van Driver Toolkit tackles many of the important issues facing driver and vehicle managers who are responsible for managing risk in their organisations. Modules available online include vehicle roadworthiness, driver fatigue, driver distraction and overloading.
It was created with the support of National Highways Van Operator Reference Group, made up of 40 representatives of some of the best-run van fleets in the UK. To date, the resources have been accessed by 1300 organisations with more than 1.3 million van drivers, and adopted by many Trade Associations, which have, in turn, shared with their own members.
Importantly, it is now available to everyone who employs van drivers or operates vans, and resources can be highlighted and shared with drivers, to help eradicate the historical problems around lack of understanding when it comes to driver and employer responsibilities.
Who’s responsible for managing road risk?
Mark Cartwright, Head of the Commercial Vehicle Incident Prevention Team at Highways England said: “Something I’ve noticed since being at National Highways is the difference between the way truck and van drivers tend to react when, for example, being spoken to by Police about their compliance.
“It’s a bit of a sweeping generalisation but truck drivers tend to accept they’re doing wrong, they know what they should have been doing and accept ‘it’s a fair cop’. Van drivers on the other hand tend to have a hundred reasons why they didn’t know how to comply. And that’s exactly what the Van Driver Toolkit is designed to help with – to take away the ‘sorry, I didn’t know’ response.
“The operation of vans is a risky business. It is the most dangerous part of the day for any van driver regardless of any other duties they may have, and it is well-documented that vans are involved in more fatal and serious incidents than any other class of vehicle on our roads. They are also the fastest-growing class of vehicles on the road and this growth is showing little sign of slowing down,” he adds.
As part of the Driving for Better Business 7 Steps to Better Driver Management, free resources can now be accessed via a newly launched portal, which enables those responsible for occupational road safety and the management of drivers to set up a personalised dashboard from which they can manage their progress. They can also share resources with others in their organisation, with the ultimate aim of achieving the significant benefits that can be demonstrated by those who are managing road risk well.
Reducing Road Risk in your organisation
The 7 Steps to Better Driver Management are available to all those who would like to manage road risk using free resources and support. The first step is to register on the portal and download the programme framework which explains how it works. You will then have access to risk management tools which you can share with your team and your drivers.
Ultimately you’ll be able to make a leadership statement highlighting your commitment to reducing road risk in your organisation.
Driving for Better Business is a free to access government-backed National Highways programme, delivered in partnership with RoadSafe, to help employers in the private and public sectors reduce work-related road risk, protecting staff who drive or ride for work, and others with whom they may share the road. You can learn more about the programme and how to get started here.