An increase in home deliveries, including those at night, presents new challenges for LGV drivers. As road casualty statistics show 40 per cent of collisions occur in the hours of darkness*, even though only 15 per cent of vehicle miles are travelled at night, RTITB warns LGV drivers may not be receiving the training they need.
The convenience of online shopping and home delivery is clearly beneficial but has resulted in big changes for LGV drivers, who are increasingly required to make deliveries to homes, rather than warehouses or depots. This has introduced a whole new set of challenges.
“This is where training becomes vital for ensuring professionalism, safety and efficiency,” explains Laura Nelson, Managing Director, RTITB, the largest Master Driver CPC Consortium in the UK.
“With an increase in deliveries, drivers are experiencing as much pressure as the depots picking the items and must also handle the pressures of time-specific deliveries, all while providing high customer service.”
Despite these challenges, these key aspects of the job are often overlooked when it comes to training. To support employers in these specific issues, RTITB offers relevant, professional driver training topics in its Driver CPC Periodic Training courses.
Route Planning can help drivers with time keeping, enabling them to plan ahead and make their journey efficient as possible. Sat-navs cannot always direct drivers effectively, but effective route planning can help to navigate around built up areas, which pose additional obstacles. Vehicle Limitations are important to understand, particularly as they can change throughout a shift.
“Narrow streets, cul-de-sacs and one-way systems can be a nightmare, even in smaller, 3.5 tonne vehicles,” says Laura Nelson. “Transport Managers should look to implement training that improves and develops their drivers’ awareness of their vehicle and, where possible, provide a refresh on all vehicle types they may be expected to drive.”
Night Time Deliveries are becoming commonplace. With proper training, driving in the dark should not present any significant challenges. However, training is important for helping drivers understand how to minimise disruption from the noise and light of the truck in residential areas.
Roadside Deliveries demand vehicles to be unloaded (or loaded) in a public area, presenting different considerations. Firstly, drivers need to have the knowledge with which to assess the best place to park.
Drivers also need to be aware of pedestrians and other vehicles when operating tail lifts, as well as considering the safety implications of the load when it has been removed.
“Manual Handling incidents are still a great issue within the industry, primarily because employees aren’t given sufficient training,” adds Laura. The inclusion of manual handling within Driver CPC training will further educate drivers on correct handling techniques, helping to minimise injury, as well as potential damage to goods.
“Dealing with a customer is very different to dealing with a warehouse manager” says Laura. “As with any customer facing role, appropriate training must be provided so that drivers are equipped and comfortable to interact with customers.”
A free “Safety When Delivering’ download sheet to help managers and drivers address some of the issues is available from RTITB: www.rtitb.co.uk/download/deliveries *ROSPA – Driving at Night