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Home > News > January 2006 > 26-Jan-2006

Darling launches advanced driving scheme for van drivers

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling has launched a £1.3m scheme that aims to encourage safer, cleaner and cheaper driving.

The Safe and Fuel Efficient Drivers (SaFED) scheme will fund 200 instructors to offer training initially to 3,500 van drivers across the country.

The Department for Transport (DfT) says drivers in small businesses or medium sized enterprises using their own van qualify for free training. A small contribution will apply to others which will be reinvested into additional activity in the project.

The new scheme follows a pilot project that found financial and environmental gains could be made by using advanced driving techniques without any noticeable impact on delivery times.

According to the DfT, the benefits for a typical driver doing 20,000 miles a year could include:

  • Savings of up to £500 of diesel per vehicle
  • Over a 1/4 tonne reduction in carbon emissions
  • Reduction of fuel consumption by around 10% per vehicle
  • 59% fewer gear changes
  • Fewer accidents, lower insurance premiums, lower running costs and higher resale value of vehicles

The optional one day course involves a mix of classroom and on-the-road tuition and teaches the use of driving techniques such as better use of gears to avoid over-revving and missing out unnecessary gear changes, keeping correct braking distances to avoid braking hard, fuel economy and better road awareness.

Speaking yesterday in Nuneaton, Alistair Darling said: "The white van fleet keeps the British economy moving - playing a vital role in its success. Van drivers can play their part in making Britain a greener place. At the same time making a tidy saving.

"The scheme we are launching today makes business sense. As our pilot shows greener, cheaper, safer driving is possible while still getting the product there on time. Annual savings of up to £500 per van, over a 1/4 tonne of carbon is a good delivery in anyone's books."

External links

Van drivers and instructors interested in the scheme should visit:

Department for Transport

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