Sep 30 2009 Maurice Glover
Super-skill driving test
BUSINESS drivers will soon be able to take a special test to prove they have the know-how to slash spiralling motoring costs.
In a new super-test to be launched next week, car and van drivers can demonstrate how their expertise is able to make massive savings on fleet operating costs.
Overseen by a specially-trained team of driving examiners, the test will validate the ability of drivers to trim 15 per cent off fuel bills, cut vehicle repair and wear and tear costs by up to 60 per cent and put their firms in line for the lowest insurance rates.
Believed to be the toughest assessment of vehicle control for experienced drivers yet devised, the 90-minute ECO test has been developed by a team of experts from the Approved Driving Instructors National Joint Council and the Driver Education Research Foundation.
Designed to set a fresh level in advanced driving, it will cost £160 and target more than 20 million business motorists and their employers.
According to DERF director Professor Peter Russell: 'We have identified a gap in the market. Bus and heavy goods vehicle drivers are required by law to have to a certificate of professional competence but nothing is in place for the many car and van drivers who take to the roads each day on behalf of their firms.
'Our idea was to try to come up with a qualification that shows employers that their drivers will save them money in operating costs and are unlikely to crash their vehicles,'
Plans for the test will be unveiled at the ADI annual conference (on Oct 4) and Prof Russell, who holds a doctorate in driver education and is the highest qualified driving instructor in Britain, believes companies will be keen to support it.
'Eco-qualification holders will be the top 10 per cent of Britain's business drivers and will be an attraction to firms seeking to minimise vehicle running costs. A major supermarket chain has already shown keen interest and we think many employers could soon be demanding their drivers become qualified to the new level,' he said.