- Bus passenger safety set to improve with roll-out of driver safety training
- Safety courses seek to reduce fleet CO2 emissions and boost vehicle uptime with 8% improved fuel efficiency
- Initiative forms part of manufacturer’s vision to achieve zero accidents with Volvo Group Products
Swedish manufacturer of buses and coaches, Volvo Buses, together with its partners from the transport industry, public transport authorities and private bus operators, are embarking on an initiative to significantly improve driver skills. Volvo is helping authorities and operators to initiate a series of safety training courses for drivers and their trainers with the vision to reduce road accidents, improve fuel efficiency and reduce environmental impact for businesses across the Middle East and Africa.
Volvo Buses is working closely with operators and authorities across Egypt, UAE, Tunisia and Morocco, helping them to launch a series of refresher driver training programs in local languages for drivers in the region. The company aims to develop local capabilities both in terms of local expertise and creating the course content to deliver training programs in each market.
The course covers topics about the importance of good behaviour, product knowledge, safety on the road and efficient driving skills. It also provides hands-on know-how about how to use the bus features correctly, daily checks, preventive maintenance, safety, fuel efficient driving operations and do’s & don’ts. These practical Refresher Driver training courses will ultimately help drivers improve their behaviour and contribute to achieving Volvo’s goal of zero accidents with Volvo Group products.
By training drivers to take a more cautious approach on the roads, it is expected not only that safety and passenger comfort will be improved but so too will fuel efficiency and emissions. After a recent training course conducted for a Volvo Bus customer in Tunisia, drivers increased their fuel efficiency by 8%, thereby lowering costs for the operator and also contributing to improving local air quality and lowering carbon dioxide emissions.
With rising temperatures in the Middle East region and the potential physical effects that fasting and the hot weather brings, bus drivers need to be vigilant of the passengers within their own vehicles and mindful of pedestrians on the streets. Added to this, bus drivers are also responsible for checking key elements of the vehicle before a journey, ensuring the safety and comfort of passengers on-board as well as monitoring other road users. Hence, bus drivers play a crucial role in maintaining safety, and Volvo, having recognised their importance, has embarked on initiating programs for training drivers.
Commenting on this initiative of driver training, Steve Hedouin, Vice President, MEAC (Middle East-Africa-CIS) Volvo Bus Corporation, said: “The human factor plays a decisive role in nine out of ten road accidents. It is therefore paramount that drivers know the risks on the roads. We, at Volvo Buses, intend to partner with key stakeholders and focus on our drivers to improve their driving and behavioural skills, and help them make the right decisions, with the right attitude, to prevent accidents from occurring. Our driver safety courses can also impact businesses financially as skilled drivers improve fuel efficiency and vehicle uptime.”
Steve Hedouin continued, “Every day, millions of people across the region rely on our buses, and our job is to bring them safely to their destination. Safety always comes first at Volvo Buses, it is a core value and part of our soul, so our vision is clear: zero accidents with Volvo Group products. In 1927, Volvo’s founders stated that ’Safety is and must be the basic principle in all design work’. Today, almost 90 years later, we’re still leading the way with a range of pioneering safety innovations that are making their way throughout the vehicle industry”.
Since its inception in 1927, Volvo has introduced a series of inventive safety features within their products. One definitive prevention aid in the safety of bus, truck and car drivers is the seat belt. In 1958, Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin invented the three-point safety belt, which is used globally in trucks, cars and buses today. Volvo’s visionary three-point safety belt has saved millions of lives all over the world.
Now with nine decades as a standard bearer on safety issues, Volvo Buses has looked to achieve safety improvements in multiple ways. The Volvo B8 range, the latest model launched globally by Volvo Buses, is equipped with features such as Electronic Braking Systems, Electronic Stability program, and I-Coaching. I-Coaching monitors driving patterns and provides drivers with instant feedback on vital parameters, including over-speeding and harsh braking, which in turn prevents accidents from occurring. Thus, it encourages safer driving practices, improves fuel-efficiency and, subsequently, benefits the environment – all key areas that Volvo constantly strives to promote.