Operating a vehicle in a safer and more sustainable way comes with many benefits. From a business perspective, elements such as better managed fuel expenditure, more efficient operations, and fit for purpose vehicles can result in reduced cost. Drivers should continually scan the driving space close to the vehicle and into the distance and use visual clues to predict possible hazards and prepare for situations that may arise. Effective scanning and planning can also help drivers to use smooth acceleration or deceleration to keep momentum. This can reduce fuel consumption and general vehicle wear and tear.
Considering alternative fuel types and the right vehicle specifications are important, but what can you do to improve the safety and sustainability of existing vehicles? A number of options exist for vehicle retrofit, including:
Telematics systems: can monitor driver behaviour to encourage safer practices and optimise routes based on data. See here for more information
Fit for purpose refrigeration systems: can lead to operational efficiencies and improved environmental impacts when correctly specified
Aerodynamic styling features: reduce drag and therefore fuel consumption; includes cab roof deflectors, trailer side skirts, and trailer front fairings. See here for expected impact on fuel consumption
Low rolling resistance tyres and/or energy efficient tyres: can offer significant fuel and overall cost savings in comparison to standard tyres
Sensors, warning systems and/or cameras to improve the safety of Vulnerable Road Users such as cyclists and pedestrians
Exhaust after-treatment systems: can be fitted to comply with Clear Air Zone requirements (eg Selective Catalytic Reduction Traps or SCRT systems, as approved under the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme)
Choosing the right retrofit for your fleet will depend on factors such as cost, type and distance of driving, and payload and size requirements.
The broader professional network of the freight sector can also offer support to companies considering safe and sustainable freight operations. In addition to numerous schemes which can provide different types of certifications and advice based on needs, professional organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and the Society of Operations Engineers can provide training and help you to build a network of experienced professionals. Local programs such as LoCITY and the Manchester Freight Forum provide a link to activities in your community and can direct to upcoming conferences and seminars. By being part of a larger community to share experiences, you can help to enable the advancement of many of the safe and sustainable principles outlined above.