The Eco Driver Fleet Efficiency Program is a driver education and behaviour change program developed by the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA) with partner Strategix Training Group. The aim is to support organisations to improve the efficiency of their fleet through driver education and deliver financial, health and environmental benefits. While not yet widespread in Australia, Eco Driving programs are particularly prevalent in the EU due to high fuel prices. SECCCA’s Eco Driver Project won the award for Environmental Excellence at the 2014 Australian Supply Chain and Logistics Awards.
The Eco Driver Program is delivered in-house by a skilled trainer. It combines theoretical learning that explores the science of Eco Driving and driver psychology using case studies, with one-on-one practical skill development and experience. Drivers are taught techniques such as progressive gear shifting and braking, smooth operating, scanning ahead and optimum speeds.
The new behaviours are reinforced through evaluation and ongoing formal and informal dialogue between the trainer and participants over the following months. The skilled trainer can also advise more broadly on vehicle use and selection to further optimise savings.
An independent trial of the Eco Driver Program was conducted by the Strategix Training Group with 12 drivers across three local councils. Drivers were observed on a predetermined route and their fuel use measured. They then undertook the full education program before driving the route a second time.
The trial resulted in a 17% reduction in fuel consumption, 55% reduction in brake use and 20% reduction in gear use. This in turn reduces servicing costs and carbon emissions.
Further, the drivers also said they felt more relaxed, less stressed and had greater confidence navigating and reading traffic. For organisations with branded fleet vehicles, this may also be perceived positively by the public.