Smart Driving saves €4,000 per fleet vehicle

The Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins, TD, formally launched a new innovative Eco Driving course for the haulage sector in Ireland on 17th September 2021. The three-day ‘SMART Driving’ programme, targeted at existing professional HGV drivers, will help participants to develop behaviours and techniques that will improve fuel efficiency and road safety, reduce emissions, and will create cost savings for businesses and employers in the haulage sector.

This is an initiative of Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education and Training Board (MSLETB) with Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB) and in partnership with the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA). The programme is funded by SOLAS through the Skills to Advance policy initiative under the Innovation through Collaboration Fund 2019-2021.

According to the research conducted during programme development, haulage companies who participate in the course are set to save up to €4,000 in fuel and maintenance costs per fleet vehicle.

This innovative programme supports employers in the haulage sector which is experiencing significant change in work practices due to new technologies such as advanced tachographics, AI predictive systems for fuel efficiency, and digitisation in everyday driver activity. Coupled with this, the sector is also experiencing increasing economic vulnerabilities and significant challenges due to environmental pressures, Brexit, Covid-19, and changing markets.

Paul Jackman, Vice President of the IRHA commented: “We in the IRHA very much welcome this collaboration between the transport industry and the ETBs, in particular the collaboration between two ETBs at opposite ends of the country. The input required on an on-going basis to develop, accredit and deliver such an industry specific and relevant course was, to say the least, impressive.”

Sean Burke, Area Training Manager at MSLETB, said: “This programme is designed to meet specific upskilling needs in the HGV sector. It will be delivered to around 300 professional HGV drivers and will then be ‘mainstreamed’ across the entire Further Education and Training sector.”

Niall Collins, Minister of State, congratulating all involved said: “This programme will not only help upskill drivers in their jobs and help the employers of those drivers, but it will also contribute to the climate agenda, which is very important in light of the upcoming Climate Action Bill.”

Pictured at the launch are (from left to right): Sean Burke, Area Training Manager, MSLETB; Mary Lyons, Director of Enterprise, Employees and Skills, SOLAS; Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins, TD.

Read more issues of the Skills to Advance newsletter