THE Driver Van Toolkit has been boosted with three new sections added, a year on from its launch by National Highways’ Driving for Better Business campaign.
The award-winning pack has reached 800,000 van drivers already, and is distributed free of charge. Its aim is to improve safety for drivers and dispel myths.
Three new cards have been added to the toolkit, covering recent changes to the Highway Code, safe loading to prevent toppling and loads moving in transit, and safe access to loads carried. A total of 30 modules can help reduce costs, improve operating conditions, ensure safe and legal vehicles, and promote driver wellbeing.
Developed by the National Highways Commercial Vehicle Incident Prevention Team as part of the Driving for Better Business programme, the free toolkit can be accessed by fleet operators and anyone who employs van drivers. It can be found online, via email, or as printed cards, with eight Toolbox Talks due to be added, the first planned for August.
It seems to have hit a nerve, and its popularity reflects the huge growth in vans on UK roads – up 50 per cent in the last 10 years and now numbering more than 4.5 million.
The Van Driver Toolkit 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.
Mark Cartwright, Head of the Commercial Vehicle Incident Prevention Team at National Highways
Common misconception about van driving:
- delivery drivers don’t need to wear seatbelts
- speed limits are the same for van drivers and car drivers
- van drivers’ hours aren’t subject to the same legislation as HGV drivers.
- If the vehicle has seat belts fitted, legally they must be worn. 27% of drivers and passengers in fatal collisions were not wearing seat belts.
- Speed limits are not always the same for van drivers and car drivers. On single-carriageway roads displaying the national speed limit sign, vans are limited to 50mph. The same rule applies on a dual carriageway, where the speed limit is 70mph for a car, but is 60mph for a van. On a motorway, a van is typically allowed to run to the 70mph speed limit, the same as a car.
- If you work as a driver for a company, duty time is any working time. If you’re self-employed, duty time is only time you spend driving the vehicle or doing other work related to the vehicle or its load. You must not drive for more than 10 hours in a day You must not be on duty for more than 11 hours in any working day. Drivers must record their hours on a weekly record sheet or on a tachograph.
The straightforward modular format of the Van Driver Toolkit this year earned it the ‘Outstanding Product of the Year’ Award from a leading trade publication. Content was developed with the support of National Highways Van Operator Reference Group made up of 40 representatives of some of the best-run van fleets in the UK.
To find out more, click here for the Van Driver Toolkit.