Tom Reddy – Driver Training Manager
As Driver Training Manager at Earthline, I have direct responsibility for the training and behaviour of our LGV drivers on the road. Road safety is my number one priority for our fleet.
Being an LGV driver in the dynamic, complex and potentially dangerous environment in which we work can be very challenging, which is why it’s important that all our drivers are subject to proper induction to our industry and company, regular assessment and ongoing training. My primary focus is to ensure that all our drivers are all operating as safely and fuel efficiently as possible, with the maximum consideration for other road users and our customers. It often goes unacknowledged that being a modern LGV driver carries with it significant responsibility. At Earthline, we try and recognise this.
In 2015, Earthline successfully registered as a training centre for Driver CPC, allowing us to design and deliver our own training courses. This allows us to tailor our training courses to our own needs as a company helping to ensure the drivers remain engaged with our company and current with our ever-changing industry. As a registered instructor with the Road Transport Industry Training Board and ITSSAR, I deliver this training directly to our drivers myself, mostly on a 1-to-1 basis with a ‘hands-on’ practical approach, so the drivers can gain maximum benefit as individuals.
With the Olympic legacy of 2012, there has been a rapid shift in how we look at transport in the UK and how we manage our roads, with this has come a widespread adoption of active travel; seeing an ever-increasing number of cyclists and other vulnerable road users on our roads. Whilst this is great for the environment, it presents a unique challenge for our LGV driving staff. It is important that our drivers are as best equipped as they can be to deal with these new challenges, so a large focus of our training is based around the safeguarding of vulnerable road users.
As part of their training, all our drivers attend the Safe Urban Driving course, which sees them take to the road on two wheels for the day, so they can appreciate the feeling of being a vulnerable cyclist on the road. Linked to this, we also run cycle safety awareness events, where we invite the public and particularly cyclists to take a seat in one of our vehicles and appreciate the drivers point of view. Hopefully this new understanding from both sides will aid a spirit of cooperation and will help keep both groups safer on the roads by working together.
In conjunction with our training, we work closely with our vehicle manufacturers, to ensure all our vehicles are fitted with the most up to date safety technology and monitoring equipment. Through our advanced telematics system, we can monitor every aspect of driver behaviour and make necessary adjustments to ensure maximum economy is delivered from our vehicles. Most of the available savings (particularly with the ever-increasing price of fuel) are as a direct result of driver behaviour, this is why regular training is so very important. If we can increase fuel return across our fleet by just 1 extra mile per gallon, we can generate significant savings from our transport operation, but we all fall into bad habits as drivers and revert to old ways of doing things. It takes regular consistent work to keep on top of these habits and keep our drivers performing at their best.
I firmly believe that transport training on a 1-to-1 personal basis is extremely important. Every individual is different, and as a manager it’s important that I get to know the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, so they can be encouraged and developed to reach their maximum potential, and training can be targeted most effectively.
I find my role challenging at times but also extremely rewarding. I believe we are building one of the best fleets in the industry, with our own unique approach, and I very much enjoy being a part of that.
As such a visible presence on the roads, representing the busy construction sector, public relations undoubtedly form a significant part of my role. I am always keen to hear how we are doing, and I would always welcome hearing from you with feedback or comments about our drivers. I will always do my very best to help.