Improving on driver delivery

To improve safety and optimise performance and fuel consumption, dealers and manufacturers need to improve their new vehicle delivery and handover procedure, especially for extra heavy commercial vehicles and buses.

Most modern extra heavy commercial vehicles and buses are equipped with the latest hi-tech equipment and computer-managed engines, drivelines, brakes and retarder systems. Although these are easy to operate once you understand and know how to activate them, drivers need to be shown and taught how to operate these systems correctly to obtain the best operating results and optimum safety.

In my opinion, dealers and manufacturers should offer their clients a one-day training course for the driver at the time of delivery of the new truck or bus. The training course would not be to teach the driver how to drive – hopefully the driver of such a vehicle already knows how to drive! – but rather how to professionally operate all the controls and systems that are fitted to the new vehicle. This reduces the time it takes the driver to operate the vehicle at its optimal level and contribute to the company’s operational returns.
Besides being educational, these training courses should be motivational for the driver. The driving course needs to be conducted in a proper training facility and the driver needs to be treated with respect. It needs to be a fun day.
These training sessions would result in large benefits to the vehicle operator, the vehicle manufacturer and other road users.
The driver would drive the vehicle in a safe and professional manner, resulting in a lower risk of being involved in an accident and saving on operational costs.
The vehicle supplier would benefit from lower warranty costs as the vehicle would be driven in the correct manner without abusing any of the vehicle’s components.
Other road users would be safer on the road and the unacceptable national vehicle accident rate would be reduced.
The training course should be partially theoretical and partially practical. The theoretical part of the training should cover all the operating basics of the vehicle and include advanced driving skills, something that all drivers of heavy commercial vehicles and buses should be taught as a matter of course.
Just some basic techniques of advanced driving skills will help the driver to avoid an accident:
• Scan the road every 12 seconds for any hazards
• When a road hazard is identified, the driver must be taught to think and predict what might happen, to automatically slow down, to make a decision on what action to take, and to immediately execute the decision
• The practical part would involve taking the vehicle out on the road together with a qualified instructor who would demonstrate how to operate the vehicle in a professional and safe manner.
I believe that advanced driving skills are necessary for drivers of large vehicles to appreciate why they have to continually make allowances for light vehicle drivers who have no understanding of the stopping distance and manoeuvring room required by these larger vehicles. This results in drivers having to continually identify hazards and predict what may happen and then make allowances for other poor drivers on the road.
The benefits that would be derived from a one-day vehicle handover training programme will totally outweigh the training costs involved and reduce our unacceptable national road accidents.

 


One of this country’s most respected commercial vehicle industry authorities, VIC OLIVER has been in this industry for 45 years. Before joining the FOCUS team, he spent 15 years with Nissan Diesel, 11 years with Busaf and seven years with International.

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