Training on issues such as fatigue must also be addressed. Driver fatigue is a significant area of concern within the professional transport industry and can affect even the most experienced of drivers.
accidents caused by mechanical failure, all of these accidents are avoidable if drivers receive the proper education and training. It is the responsibility of the permit holder, not the driver, to organise training. With training courses costing from as little as £80 per day, there is little excuse for failing to ensure that employees have a fundamental understanding of the warning signs of fatigue and other safety hazards. Training doesn’t need to stop there. Properly selected, appropriate training programmes can help to teach drivers not only the legalities and duties of their role but also how to react to scenarios when accidents to happen. Teaching everything from emergency first aid to fire and evacuation procedures, these programmes can give drivers the ability to save lives – the lives that they are responsible for from the second their passengers set foot in their vehicle. Employers must seize the initiative on training and set an example for everyone in the transport industry, because there are potentially devastating consequences for passengers and businesses should a driver flout their responsibilities and cause an accident.
This was exemplified by the tragedy in Bath, where a newlyqualified lorry driver killed four people as a result of inexperience. The onus, as it always does, fell not on the individual but on the owner of the company that employed him. The owner received a prolonged custodial sentence. While the accident itself was a result of a mechanical fault, the business owner was imprisoned alongside the mechanic because of a failure to observe correct procedure and training: training for the driver to carry out daily defects checks; training for the mechanic in adequate safety inspection and recording; and a failure to monitor, record, and refresh employee training. This accident need never have happened if the business had taken the proper steps. The onus is firmly on employers here, but it should not be viewed as an imposition or a hardship. With courses competitively priced and training only required at sporadic intervals, it is the responsibility of every operator in the transport industry to make the roads a safer and more pleasant place for everyone who uses them.
PROJECT ZEFER PROMOTES HYDROGEN FUEL CELL ELECTRIC VEHICLES Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles are taking to the roads in Paris, Brussels and London as private-hire and police cars as part of the pan-european Zefer project that aims to prove the benefits of zero-emission fuel cell cars for large urban fleets. the first 25 vehicles went into service in London in May supplied by green tomato Cars. Zefer – Zero emission fleet vehicles for european roll-out – will deploy 60-strong fleets in each city. these will be used in applications where hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCevs) make most sense, namely for fleets that cover long distances daily, need rapid fuelling, and operate in polluted city centres. FCevs use compressed hydrogen as a fuel, which is transformed into electricity to power an electric drivetrain by a fuel cell. this process produces no emissions other than water. FCevs can be refuelled rapidly – the typical time is three minutes – and offer a range of between 300 and 400 miles. in regular daily use, each of the 180 test vehicles will have a hydrogen demand roughly four times that of a normal privately-owned car. this demand will help to ensure high use of the network of hydrogen fuelling stations in each city, improving the economics of such stations and helping to accelerate the commercialisation of hydrogen as a fuel.
the €26 million Zefer initiative will test the performance of both the vehicles and infrastructure under high mileage conditions, and gather data with the aim of making the business case for future FCev adoption. Zefer will be delivered by a consortium led by element energy. this includes hydrogen suppliers (air Liquide and itM Power trading), vehicle end users (green tomato Cars, Hype, and the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime), observer partners (BMW and Linde ag) and partners supporting the analysis and policy conclusions (Cenex and the Mairie de Paris). it is co-funded with €5 million from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), a public-private partnership supporting fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies in europe. ‘Project ZeFer is an important step towards widespread commercialisation of hydrogen cars,’ said Bart Biebuyck, FCH JU executive director. ‘the three taxi service companies and the police of London will use 180 hydrogen electric cars that are silent, vibration-free and emit no emissions. this brings a superior service for the comfort of taxi passengers, convenient driving range for the drivers, and a clear gain for improving air quality in Paris, Brussels and London. these hydrogen cars will be put under high utilisation, pushed to their limit to prove the case of the technology, and hopefully we will soon see many more of them on european roads.’
38 LAPV September 2017