RoadSafe calls for drivers to follow pilots” lead

25 January 2006 #SMMT News

RoadSafe, the road safety partnership of leading automotive and transport industries, government and road safety professionals, has urged fleet and private motorists to seriously consider further training in 2006. It follows SMMT research showing that motorists are ignoring some of the most basic checks and advice for safe driving.

The SMMT survey showed that nearly three quarters of motorists have not read the Highway Code since their driving test; that drivers do not check tyre pressures regularly; and that nearly a third of drivers admit they have not buckled up in a moving car in the last year.

Commenting on the results, RoadSafe director Adrian Walsh said, ‘There is no doubt that many motorists take safety too much for granted. By and large they drive safe cars on safe roads, but too few have done much to ensure that they are really safe drivers, many having had no training since their driving test. Most at risk are those driving on company business. We must all start to take on-going training as seriously as other transport sectors do.’

The airline industry requires any pilot flying for hire or reward to undergo a series of rigorous training exercises each year. But many leading companies in other sectors have improved their safety records and made significant financial savings by introducing further driver training. Private motorists have also benefited from advanced training from organisations like the Institute for Advanced Motorists and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Adrian Walsh added, ‘All company directors should take a leaf out of the pilot’s book. About 10 people a day die and over 100 are seriously injured on UK roads each day; better training will help cut avoidable fatal accidents.’

RoadSafe’s call comes on the day that the Department for Transport announced a new £1.3m Safe and Fuel Efficient Drivers (SaFED) Scheme to encourage safer, cleaner and cheaper driving for commercial vehicles.

A successful pilot project found significant financial and environmental gains could be made by using advanced driving techniques without any noticeable impact on delivery times. A typical driver benefiting from the training and doing 20,000 miles a year could save up to £500 of diesel per vehicle; see over a 1/4 tonne reduction in carbon emissions; reduce fuel consumption by around 10 per cent; make 59 per cent fewer gear changes; and have fewer accidents, lower insurance premiums, lower running costs and higher resale value of vehicles.


Pilots, including those flying small, single-propeller planes, go through the following training:

  • Twice-yearly proficiency checks, either in a simulator or in-flight, including possible failures like loss of engine power.
  • An annual in-line flight check, accompanied by an instructor, assessing flying competency en-route.
  • An annual medical for every commercial pilot under 40 and twice-yearly for those aged 40 plus.

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