Introducing Van Driver Passports

Leading fleet operators are considering a “driver passport” in order to improve driving standards and raise the level of professionalism amongst van drivers.

The initiative is being lead by the FTA in conjunction with major van fleet operators such as:

  • Balfour Beatty
  • Virgin Media
  • Clancy Docwra
  • Iron Mountain
  • Speedy Hire
  • AAH Pharmaceuticals

The passport would include an agreed minimum level of driver training - proof that the driver is competent behind the wheel - and reduce the need for retraining when fleets take on new employees from other businesses. It would also create a formal qualification, which the fleet could then choose to top up with training, with its own customer service standards, for example.

In outlining the benefits a driver passport could bring, Adrian Wanford - group transport manager at Balfour Beatty - said:

“It is a challenge to keep on top of training when drivers move on,” he said. “We want a transferable training record, similar to the HGV industry.”

Speaking along the same lines at the FTA’s Van Excellence conference in April, head of vans Mark Cartwright said: “Bump into a truck driver in a pub and they’ll tell you they’re a truck driver within seconds, probably before they tell you who for.

“Ask a van driver the same question and they’ll probably spend the next few hours denying they’re a van driver.

“I guess most of these drivers see themselves as a tradesman first and a van driver second. Yet the driving of their van is probably the riskiest element of their role.”

Fleets involved in the consultation have suggested that the passport could form the basis of a three-tier qualification: tier one would consist of basic driver training; tier two would cover industry sector-specific knowledge, such as tail-lifts or refrigeration; tier three would be tailored to a company’s own culture. It’s likely only the first tier would be portable.

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