Questions and Answers
What is SAFED NZ?
SAFED NZ is a driver development course, consisting of assessment and training. It aims to improve the safe and fuel efficient driving skills of truck and bus drivers through functional driving advice and vehicle maintenance. The New Zealand programme has been adapted from a successful scheme in the UK, which has been offered on a commercial basis for over six years and has trained more than 20,000 drivers.
How does SAFED NZ improve fuel efficiency?
SAFED NZ teaches drivers and operators a range of driving techniques and maintenance tips so they can manage the fuel used by their vehicles.
Course participants are taught techniques for factors such as:
- optimising travel speed and gear selection
- ensuring appropriate engine speeds at which gears are changed
- reducing aggressiveness of accelerator and brake pedal use
- reducing the amount of time the driver leaves the truck idling.
Use of safe and fuel efficient driving techniques learnt through SAFED NZ can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent.
Why is it important to improve fuel efficiency in the heavy vehicle fleet?
Research shows that if half of New Zealand’s heavy vehicle fleets with more than 10 vehicles reduced their fuel use by 10 percent, CO2 emissions would reduce by 115,000 tonnes each year, and diesel purchases would be reduced by approximately $50 million each year.
Research commissioned by the Ministry of Transport in 2008 showed there is a need to improve the way New Zealand commercial fleets operate in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce fuel wastage and improve road safety. Commercial vehicles contribute 35 percent of total transport greenhouse gas emissions.
Freight is predicted to double in New Zealand by 2040 and most of it is likely to continue to be transported by road. Improving freight productivity and fuel efficiency will be important to reduce the environmental impact of more trucks on the road. Economic productivity is also likely to be boosted through lower operating costs.
Why is it important to improve safety in the heavy vehicle fleet?
While the numbers of heavy vehicle crashes has been decreasing, the consequences of crashes involving heavy vehicles are more severe. In 2008, crashes involving heavy vehicles accounted for 18 percent of the road toll and 9 percent of total injuries. This equates to 65 deaths, 258 serious injuries and 1,144 minor injuries.
The number of heavy vehicles on our roads is expected to increase, and we need to ensure this does not mean an increase in serious crashes.
The government’s Safer Journeys road safety strategy, released in March 2010, includes initiatives for improving the safety of heavy vehicles over the next ten years. The initiatives include considering mandating electronic stability control on all heavy vehicles entering the fleet, and publishing operating safety ratings. More information is available at http://www.saferjourneys.govt.nz/.
How were the senior instructors selected?
Nine senior instructors from various parts of the country have been trained. They are recognised by the Ministry of Transport as being able to train other trainers as well as drivers, so that SAFED NZ skills can be adopted nationally over the longer term. The nine senior instructors have been trained by the founder of the UK SAFED training programme, John Boocock.
Major industry partners (Bus and Coach Association, New Zealand Contractors’ Federation and the Road Transport Forum) were contacted in 2009 inviting nominees for the senior instructor positions. The senior instructors were then selected to ensure they came from a range of industry sectors and geographical regions, and had to demonstrate a willingness to promote the widespread adoption of SAFED NZ over the long term.
In the UK, where the scheme has been operating for a number of years, there are still only thirteen Senior Instructors, so nine Senior Instructors is likely to be more than sufficient for New Zealand.
How will the senior instructors roll this programme out?
Each senior instructor is approved by the Ministry of Transport and the NZ Transport Agency to run the SAFED NZ course to train more instructors and drivers on a commercial basis.
Courses for drivers and instructors are available from July 2010.
Is the SAFED programme only for truck and bus drivers?
At present the SAFED NZ course is only for truck and bus drivers. In the UK, SAFED is for drivers of all commercial fleets, including trucks, buses and vans. SAFED UK was initially developed for truck drivers, but its success meant the UK Department for Transport was keen to develop a training course specifically for van drivers.
The Ministry of Transport plans to investigate whether it would be beneficial to develop a separate SAFED course for vans and other light delivery vehicles once the current course has been implemented. The Ministry of Transport is also investigating whether any other elements of the UK Fleet Best Practice Programme could be usefully adopted in New Zealand.
How will you know if this programme has been successful in New Zealand?
Accurate monitoring of the ‘before and after’ fuel economy of all participants is a key feature of the scheme.
In addition, the Ministry of Transport has engaged Transport Engineering Research Ltd (TERNZ) to produce case studies of operators that have completed the training. The case studies page will be updated regularly as further studies are completed.
Is there interest from the industry in taking part in this type of programme?
The Ministry of Transport has received strong interest from commercial trainers and truck and bus operators wanting to undertake the SAFED NZ programme, highlighting the multiple benefits that this scheme offers the transport sector.
How much does training cost?
The cost of training is a commercial arrangement between you and the instructor. There are no subsidies available from the government for this training. Contact your nearest instructor for a quote. Depending on your operation, most companies should get a pay back in fuel and maintenance savings in a relatively short time.
Should I become an instructor or just do the course?
If your job currently involves training drivers, whether in-house or commercially, then you should look at becoming an instructor. Potential instructors will usually benefit from undertaking the one-day driver course first.
When is a good time to do the training?
Anytime is a good time to do SAFED NZ training. However, a particularly good time is when a driver gets a new vehicle to use as they will need to learn new skills to drive the vehicle anyway.