New modules added to Van Drivers' Toolkit

Row of white vans

Three new modules have been added to the Van Driver Toolkit launched by National Highways Driving for Better Business (DfBB) campaign.

The new modules cover the recent changes to the Highway Code; safe loading to prevent vans toppling and loads moving in transit; and safe access to loads.

National Highways said the new modules will help to reduce costs, improve operating conditions, ensure safe and legal vehicles, and promote wellbeing for drivers.

Mark Cartwright, head of the commercial vehicle incident prevention team at National Highways, said: “It (Van Driver Toolkit) seems to have hit a nerve, and its popularity reflects the huge growth in vans on UK roads – up 50% in the last 10 years and now numbering more than 4.5 million.

“It has been an amazing success, and its popularity is not just down to the growth in the market but also the hazy understanding of the law.

“There is a common misconception that there is little legislation governing van drivers and van operations – perhaps because anyone with a standard car driver licence can drive a light commercial vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes. This, of course, is wrong.

“Most of the time there is a genuine lack of awareness - we see vans being operated by businesses that are very good at managing their health and safety in the primary areas of their business, away from the vehicle, but it may not translate to the vehicle operation.

“The Van Driver Toolkit should help everyone employing van drivers and operating vans to improve their management of road risk.”

The toolkit launched one year ago – has reached some 800,000 van drivers and has received the 2022 Fleet News ‘Outstanding Product of the Year’ Award.

The toolkit can be accessed by fleet operators and anyone who employs van drivers in their business, and shared either online, via email or as printed cards, with eight Toolbox Talks due to be added, the first in August.

“Not every business has the time or expertise available in-house to create the resources necessary to do this,” said Cartwright.

“We created the Van Driver Toolkit so that managers could regularly share essential information with their drivers about the standards required, and how to meet them, in a wide range of easily accessible formats.

“When HGVs are pulled over by the DVSA for example, the driver is usually aware what’s gone wrong. With van drivers, they might say they simply weren’t aware of the law.

“But it’s worth knowing that 89% of vans stopped by DVSA are overloaded, and the average fine per overloading offence is around £972. Ignorance is no defence. Plus, two out of three vans stopped at the roadside have a serious mechanical defect.”

The Van Driver Toolkit insight can also be found at the Commercial Fleet tool.

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