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Van Smart – Increase road safety

February 5, 2018

van smar driver training van delivering a course

Following the success and popularity of Safe Urban Driving. In 2016 Transport for London (TFL) released a new training programme called Van Smart. The aim was to increase road safety amongst van drivers in London. The aim of this programme was very clear, TFL wanted to increase safety and reducing the risks associated with operating van fleets by raising awareness of potential hazards. As well as providing essential skills and tools for drivers to work safely in the 21st century urbanised environment. Van Smart meets the mandatory Vulnerable Road User driver training requirements of CLOCS, FORS Silver and TfL’s WRRR.

 

As of 2016 when Van Smart was launched it was reported that vans actually account for 80% of all freight miles carried out within London. Another statistic also revealed that 10% of all road accidents in London involved a van. However, these were not the only reasons for TFL launching this new programme. The DVSA revealed that many vans fail their MOT’s first time and 89% of vans that are stopped on the road side are found to be overweight.

Areas covered in a Van Smart course:

  • How to effectively plan and prepare for a journey.
  • How & why roads are changing to accommodate active travel, such as walking & cycling.
  • The hazards of the urban environment and how they can create distractions for drivers.
  • Who vulnerable road users are, and how they interact with traffic.
  • How to share the road safely with others.

Most modern day fleets have HGV vehicles as well as vans. However, important aspects and risks associated with driving vans are often overlooked. Van Smart as well as Safe Urban Driving are setting a new benchmark for training courses. The new format involving practical and theory content enables drivers to experience the areas spoken about within the theory aspect first hand.

 

The major focus throughout this course is similar to HGV training as van drivers can learn about increasing safety, efficiency and making them more aware of other road users. There is a big emphasis on ensuring drivers stay compliant. In order to try and reduce the 89% of overweight vans on our roads, as well as building awareness of the risks vulnerable road users face daily.

 

Every year we face more traffic and road users than ever before. Which, in turn leads to more congestion and potential hazards throughout our busy roads. This kind of training is becoming increasingly vital for all vehicle operators to cope with these issues. Providing compliance training and awareness amongst van drivers has the potential to reduce the 10% of road accidents they are involved in throughout London.

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