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2 March 2012

Business Lease: Ecological and safe driving

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Ecological driving increases safety behind the steering wheel

More than a year ago, Business Lease introduced their Blue Care product, which aims to contribute to the reduction of the impact of driving on the environment. An integral part of this product is the training of vehicle fleet drivers, whose driving style directly influences the production of emissions from the cars they are driving. Robert Kotál, CEO of the Traffic Academy and Hana Člupná, Business Lease Marketing Director, explain what this training is about and how the Business Lease clients benefit from it.
How exactly is such driver training conducted, and who conducts it?
Robert Kotál: It is a one-day course with a theoretical section and practical section. The course is for twelve drivers and it is conducted by our Traffic Academy (Dopravní akademie). We place the main emphasis on the principles of ecologically friendly approach to using motor vehicles.
What is the greatest discovery for drivers during the training?
RK: That some “guaranteed recipes” are actually myths and that their application actually increases fuel consumption, such as, using neutral gear when going downhill.
That is interesting. And which bad driving habits have the greatest negative impact on the volume of emissions produced by cars?
RK: There are a number of them, but the most important is leaving the motor running while the vehicle is stationary, driving with a roof box when it is not needed and when it is empty and running the engine at rotations beyond the optimal scope, and so on.
How can you ensure that after the training the drivers would really apply the newly acquired knowledge in reality?
RK: The course also includes the practical part, during which the drivers learn to transfer the newly acquired knowledge into practice. Adherence to these principles during the real driving is the responsibility and conscience of each of them.
Is there any way to measure the increase in fuel savings derived from ecological driving?
RK: Yes, there is. We can say that relatively minor changes in the driver’s behavior can reduce fuel consumption by up to 15 percent.
Does ecological driving have any impact on reducing accident rates on the roads?
RK: It certainly does. Ecological driving should be smooth, with plenty of foresight and without sudden accelerations or sharp braking. These are also the requirements of safe driving. Ecological driving also increases personal safety on the road.
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The Blue Care product offers the clients a number of instruments of various sorts that can help them reduce the emissions of their vehicle fleets. So why is it necessary to train the drivers also?
Hana Člupná: The benefits of driver training reflect the benefits of the entire program. However, in addition to reducing CO2 emissions and saving on fuel costs, the training also takes into account the safety, which is equally important for employers. Ecological drivers are also safer drivers, which means fewer insurance claims.
Is it true that an increasing number of companies are responding to the ecological aspects of the services that they buy, or are they rather sceptical?
: Companies keep track of the trends that appear with respect to their car fleets, and we have noticed considerable interest in the ecological elements of our Blue Care program. Apart from driver training, one of the options is the compensation of CO2 production and the acquisition of an internationally acknowledged “CO2 neutral car fleet” certificate. This is an exceptional option in the operational leasing market.
What are the reactions of your clients – the managers of vehicle fleets and the management of companies which already participate in the Blue Care program?
: Managers usually appreciate the practical and economical side of the things. Not only for the fact that we provide the training for them and we organize it with the support of Traffic Academy, but also because we are able to co-finance it from the support we get from contractual insurance companies. The economic benefits of training are evident.
The drivers who have already gone through the training, and that includes the Business Lease drivers, all react in much the same way. The prevailing mood is in the good feeling about the fact that someone cares about their personal safety; there are many surprises about the new knowledge related to defensive driving and the joy from the reduced fuel consumption. But that happens only if the drivers try to apply the principles of defensive driving in practice. And here I completely agree with Mr. Kotál that usually a pleasant surprise comes from the fact that one can drive defensively and effectively without losing the momentum of the ride.
Questions were placed by Karolína Seidlová.
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