Van driving professionals are often overlooked when it comes to training, although they amount for a considerable chunk of the average road mileage every year, which brings about the question why do they not receive the same training focus as HGV drivers?
Professional van drivers are common throughout many different industries across the United Kingdom, different tradesman as well as delivery companies amongst others often opt for vans as their preferred vehicles. However, many people still decide to neglect the impact that vans have on our roads. There is no legislation in place specifically for van drivers similar to the driver cpc requirement, training courses have been designed if they do voluntary want to receive training and improve their driving standards but this isn’t mandatory.
The majority of van drivers will not be covering as many miles as an HGV driver does in one and for these individuals training may be unnecessary. However, the ones that are covering long distances on motorways to make deliveries or operating in urbanised cities would be the ideal candidates for training. Drivers operating within these circumstances face many of the same issues as HGV drivers; they also travel long distances to make deliveries but do not have to use a tachograph or have rest periods between driving, they are free to continuously drive for as long as they want which could potentially endanger other road users. Furthermore, the majority of van deliveries and working requirements will be carried out in urbanised areas with dense populations. HGV drivers are facing increased pressure to pursue a safety initiative such as FORS, CLOCS and WRRR that highlight potential hazards on the road and take actions to avoid them, as of yet there hasn’t been the same level of awareness about these issues for van drivers.
When you consider all of the information and compare the similarities between HGV drivers and van drivers it does make you question why the legislations are so different, is a courier company that drives a van from north to south any different from a haulier in the way they operate or what they are doing? Both companies are simply operational by delivering goods wherever they need to go. One course that has been designed to directly bridge these issues is van smart training, the content that delegates cover is replicated from safe urban driving training which is for FORS compliant HGV drivers. This course covers one of the issues we have discussed and highlights the dangers surrounding vulnerable road users, teaching professional van drivers vital signs that they need to look out for when completing their work.