Skilled drivers create an efficient supply chain

More and more UK local authorities and construction companies are choosing FORS to validate the efficiency and safety of commercial vehicles under their charge.

When it comes to lowering emissions and ensuring air quality in UK cities, the spotlight often shines on road transport. Large scale infrastructure improvements and construction projects naturally result in an increase in heavy goods vehicle traffic in urban environments and an increase in carbon output. This is on top of the fleet of essential contract vehicles, already delivering daily key services to local authorities.

The volume and diversity of this essential traffic means local governing bodies must be able to ensure all commercial vehicles operating on their behalf can meet crucial safety and efficiency standards, to make sure carbon emissions are as low as possible, in order that air quality targets can be met.

Local authorities and construction companies across the UK are choosing FORS, the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme, as the conduit to prove the efficiency and safety of commercial vehicles under their charge. FORS business services manager, Paul Wilkes, says: “Specifying that all commercial vehicles operating on your behalf must be FORS accredited ensures a safe and efficient road transport supply chain. FORS is now frequently built into local authority service contracts as a means to drive efficiency with a nationally recognised standard.”

FORS voluntary accreditation follows a progressive model and now has some 4,600 members across the UK, placing an emphasis on the importance of quality driver training to improve both safety, and environmental efficiency.

Wilkes says: “The FORS vision is clear; to make road transport safer, smarter and greener. Upskilling commercial vehicle drivers so they are aware of the safest and most efficient ways to drive in a variety of environments plays a big role in improving overall fleet efficiency. Commercial vehicle drivers who are trained to drive efficiently also reduce their vehicle emissions, so it stands to reason that if every driver operating on your behalf has this knowledge, the impact on overall carbon output will be significant. And these savings are tangible, a survey of 300 FORS Gold members found they achieved an average of 14% year on year improvement in miles per gallon.” (MPG improvements drawn from 138 FORS Gold member case studies during 2018).

FORS requires members to complete dedicated driver training courses at each level of the progressive scheme, with specific training for both HGV and van drivers. Wilkes says: “FORS driver training courses give attendees the skills they need to minimise carbon emissions in urban environments during their everyday routes. We help drivers learn how to reduce fuel usage, as well as reinforcing safety practises, to help mitigate work related road risk.

“For example, FORS LoCity Driving course shows HGV and van drivers how to avoid engine idling, one of the biggest contributors to urban pollution and avoid congestion. This also provides a financial benefit the operator by helping them to save fuel.”

All FORS members can access online resources to help embed environmental best practise across their businesses. FORS Anti-idling Toolkit explores how drivers can reduce fuel use and its Congestion Toolkit gives tips on how managers can plan to avoid the amount of time drivers spend in traffic.

Wilkes adds: “FORS believe an upskilled driving workforce can play a huge role in ensuring commercial vehicle efficiency. This in turn gives local authorities who specify FORS the confidence that its road transport supply chain is safe and efficient as possible, helping to hit air quality targets, even when large scale projects are underway.”

Click here to learn more about FORS, the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme.

If you would like to contact Andy Walker about this, or any other story, please email awalker@infrastructure-intelligence.com.