Ireland launches new Eco Driving course for the haulage sector

Ireland's Minister of State for Skills and Further Education has formally launched a new Eco Driving course for the haulage sector. The programme is intended to train existing drivers how to drive in a more fuel efficient and safe manner.

Ireland launches new Eco Driving course for the haulage sector

According to the Irish Government, the three-day course, labelled as the “SMART Driving programme,” is targeted at existing professional HGV drivers. It is intend to “help participants to develop behaviours and techniques that will improve fuel efficiency and road safety, reduce emissions, and will create cost savings for businesses & employers in the haulage sector.”

It is claimed that research has concluded that hauliers who take part in the course could save up to €4,000 annually in fuel and maintenance costs per fleet vehicle.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Collins said:

“The Programme for Government 2020 outlines our commitment to reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 51% over this decade and to achieving climate neutrality by 2050. I am delighted to be launching this programme today as it provides a great example of how industry and Government can work collaboratively as we all work towards the achievement of these goals. This programme will not only assist haulage companies to reduce their carbon emissions, it will also provide upskilling opportunities for those working in the sector which has seen huge technological advances in recent years”.

The programme has been developed by Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education and Training Board (MSLETB) in collaboration with Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB) in partnership with the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA). It has also received funding from SOLAS through the “Skills to Advance” policy initiative under a competitive “Innovation through Collaboration” call for proposals.

Those behind the course say it  is “designed to meet specific upskilling needs in the HGV sector”. The programme also aims to support hauliers with the “significant change in work practices” brought about by “emerging opportunities in new technologies” such as advanced tachographics, AI predictive systems for fuel efficiency, and digitisation in everyday driver activity.

Commenting on the launch of the programme, Mr Paul Jackman, Vice President of the IRHA, said:

The nature of work for HGV drivers, with the equipment being utilised, digitalisation, market demands, regulatory compliance and changing work practises, has evolved in the road haulage sector almost beyond recognition in the last fifteen to twenty years. These changes coupled with the high average age in the sector very much suggests the need for an upskilling course for this current crop of drivers. Upskilling opportunities will help drivers deal with this new world while best availing of new technologies and practises. This will help drivers get a better understanding of their modern work environment and equipment thus helping drivers to drive and work in a safe and compliant manner, while using less fuel to do so.”

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