Blog > September 2016

A baby grand piano descends through the air against the backdrop of an ominous grey sky. Two male boxers square up to one another inside the ring of a dimly lit studio gym. Two rams prepare to dual at the cliff edge of a snowy mountain top as the title credit reads: Things you shouldn’t get caught between.

This is the opening sequence to the new THINK! cycle safety campaign. But what does a piano, boxing and rams have to do with cycle safety you might ask? Well, nothing really. It’s what they represent that’s important: the moment before impact, being caught between two things – a place you don’t want to be.

This is the simple idea behind our cycle safety campaign. We want to remind cyclists of the dangers of getting between a lorry and a left hand turn – the area where one third of collisions between cyclists and lorries happen. Our advice to cyclists is ‘Don’t get between a lorry and a left hand turn. Hang back’.

In the last 5 years, 104 cyclists have been killed in accidents involving an HGV. Startlingly, this accounts for nearly 20% of all cycling fatalities – revealing that HGVs present one of the largest dangers to cyclists on the road. Better mirrors, proximity sensors and blind spot cameras are making driving safer, but technology improvements will never replace the judgement and expertise of you – the driver – behind the wheel.

Taking a proactive approach to improving the safety of everyone on the roads – beyond regulation requirements – is high on the agenda for the freight and haulage industry. Safe driving practices are an integral part of your professional development. Looking out for vulnerable road users is second nature to you. You might be ‘tyred’ (pun intended) of the hearing the same message, but THINK! is all about encouraging each and every one of us to think about our behaviour on the roads.

You know the drill. You know to check your vehicle before you set off. You know what to look out for in your mirrors. You know that you should never overtake a cyclist on the approach to a junction. You know to pull up behind cyclists at a junction rather than alongside them. And you know to give them space when you overtake. But knowing and doing – each and every single time – are two very different things.

So next time you’re out on the road and you see a junction approaching, take extra time to look out for cyclists. Being attuned (get it?!) to the risk of pianos falling from the sky is not something that drivers need to be aware of, but as the number of cyclists on the road increase, being vigilant to the movements of riders at junctions is the only way to avoid the potential devastating consequences of a collision. THINK! Take extra time to look out for cyclists.

(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)

Posted: 26/09/2016 14:27:55 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

Monthly engineering blog sponsored by Texaco.

While ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association) has yet to publish its next level specification requirements, future legislation is likely to demand better fuel efficiency to meet more stringent emissions controls. One way to make an engine more fuel efficient is to make it more thermally efficient, but what are the potential issues surrounding this development?

When an engine runs at a hotter temperature, so does the oil lubricating it, making protection more challenging. To combat this, next generation lower High Temp High Shear products will need to tread a fine line between the legislator’s desire for improvements in fuel economy and the levels of component protection and long engine life expected by OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and operators.

In addition, oils with lower High Temp High Shear viscosity, open up concerns about backwards compatibility in older engines.

With PC-11 coming into force in North America at the end of 2016 are we likely to see the introduction of two diesel engine oil standards at the same time as per API CK-4 and FA-4? Commercial Marketing Manager at Chevron, Dave Spence, thinks that is unlikely but a new lower High Temp High Shear specification will be added. “Oil compatibility issues will require fleet managers to be more knowledgeable than with past categories. We are likely to see an increased fragmentation of oil types, necessitating stricter adherence to OEM recommendations than in previous generations.”

But, says Spence, “while this may appear confusing initially, it brings with it greater opportunities than ever before to lower costs and emissions by sourcing the right product for individual applications.”

To find out more on Texaco visit
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)

Posted: 12/09/2016 14:50:12 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

One of my favourite days each year is the Van Excellence Driver of the Year event and this year was no different.

We always seem to be blessed by the weather and it was a sunny Thursday in Barnsley (does that sound like a Smiths tune?) which welcomed 11 of the very best van drivers to compete in this year’s event sponsored by LeasePlan and fantastically supported by Mercedes Benz who gave us the run of its Wentworth Park facility.

We test the drivers over six elements – a fuel efficiency drive coupled with feedback on their driving style, a legislation test, risk awareness, fault identification with a fiendish pre-use vehicle check and a manoeuvring challenge and, as you’d expect from the best of the best, they were all exceptionally competent.

The overall winner was Matt Young from AAH Pharmaceuticals who took away a fabulous trophy and a £1,000 holiday voucher – not a bad day’s work!

Lisa Hanley (G4S) and Gary Day (Riverford Organic Farms) were second and third respectively.

So what did I take from the day?

My overwhelming impression was we have so many really competent and conscientious van drivers doing a challenging, pressured job in frequently difficult conditions. They, and the businesses they work for, make our way of life possible by delivering medicines, maintaining the infrastructure, bringing groceries and all the other activities we take for granted.

Perhaps it’s too much to expect Joe Public to see all this good stuff rather than focusing on the very small minority of drivers and operators who sometime give our industry a bad name. All we can do is keep spreading the word!

Congratulations also go to Matthew Pickering from Samworth Brothers Supply Chain, winner of the FTA Driver of the Year – 44 tonne award and David West of Total Foodservice Solutions, winner of the FTA Driver of the Year – 18 tonne award. Deserving winners both!
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)

Posted: 09/09/2016 14:58:10 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

Rob is a member of the House of Commons Transport Committee and Chairman of Parliament’s Freight Transport Group.

From the Maginot Line to Donald Trump’s contentious plans for the US border with Mexico to the Great Wall of Calais, people always find ways to go over, under, round or through any such construction. The problems in Calais are not about access; they are caused by the treatment of pitiful hordes of desperate refugees caught up in a shameful international game of pass-the-parcel. They are the victims in a criminal game of avoiding responsibility by governments from Athens, to Rome to Paris and London. They are not alone. The people of Calais suffer the daily misery of having “the jungle” on their doorsteps. British commercial and tourist drivers are assailed by a problem so far from their own making and impossible for them to alleviate.

Within days, work will start on this £2 million construction (paid for by British taxpayers) which will not solve the problem and will almost certainly make it worse for all concerned. The logic of building such a wall presupposes that it will deter would-be migrants from attempting the potentially lethal journey to this country, stowing away on British vehicles. Does anyone seriously think that people who have scraped together outrageous sums to pay the people traffickers and have made journeys of horrendous danger to reach these shores will simply turn around and go elsewhere once it is built? Having visited the site I can say with utmost certainty that they will not. The refugees I met in Calais are desperate to an extent that no amount of risk to their lives is going to deflect them from their determination to reach Britain.

What will happen is that the refugees will simply try to get on board vehicles further away from the port. The geographical area requiring massive expenditure on security will grow and suck in yet more resources. Police will play an impossible game of cat-and-mouse across a great swathe of the French countryside (residents of poorer areas of Nice and Marseilles must marvel at the number of police uniforms concentrated on Calais and denied to them as a result). The people traffickers will put up their prices tenfold, claiming that the wall makes it harder and more expensive to successfully cross the Channel. Drivers will still be at risk as will refugees. The contractors will make their money and the traffickers will increase theirs. Everyone else will lose.

The wall is about buying time for the French and British governments. It is about being seen to be doing something while ignoring the root causes. The French are shutting their eyes to the problem, saving money by offering shopping bags of food rather than properly housing and processing the migrants. In the long term, solving the problems of those countries from which the people come will be the only answer. While such solutions are so far from anyone’s grasp, there must be a policy of tough love towards the migrants. The unwilling governments of the Mediterranean must be persuaded to deal with the influx of people where they land and not simply passing them on to their neighbours. The camp, which makes such an unpalatable home to all living there, must come down. Only a strong approach will have any hope of deterring people from coming – and in so doing keep them from the clutches of the criminals who promise them a route to Britain. It is tough love, but it is the only way.

1900 years ago, Emperor Hadrian built a wall. One of the most expensive structures ever erected by Rome, it was meant to keep the “barbarians” (with apologies to all from Scotland – the emperor’s words not mine) out of imperial lands. Within forty years it had been abandoned because it did not work. The uselessness of the Great Wall of Calais will become clear rather more quickly than that. We can only ponder how many lives and livelihoods it will blight before that realisation dawns on its builders.
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)


Posted: 09/09/2016 14:54:05 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

Reducing the total cost of ownership is the main aim for many fleet operators. Are there any simple tips for fleet operators to get the most out of their truck tyre investment?

Like all investments, truck tyres must be carefully selected and managed. For any fleet to get the most from its tyres there are clear actions that must be taken.

Choosing the right tyre for the job is essential. This means selecting those suited to the vehicle’s type of operation and ensuring that they are the correct size and rating for that vehicle and the work it will do. For example, trucks in regional service will benefit the best from high mileage tyres such as Goodyear KMAX and long haul trucks will benefit from fuel efficient tyres such as Goodyear FUELMAX.

Using truck tyres that offer high mileage and low fuel consumption is essential to minimise fleet operating costs. However, it is vital that both tyres and vehicles are regularly maintained to ensure that those benefits continue. For example, incorrect tyre pressures cause excessive tyre wear and affect fuel consumption. Weight distribution of the cargo is also a factor that affects the loading on individual tyres and thus their rate of wear.

An important aspect of good truck tyre management is regrooving and retreading. A quality truck tyre that has been properly maintained is suitable for retreading, which means even lower costs and greater environmental benefits. For example, Goodyear TreadMax retreaded products offer similar performance to that of new tyres. With this approach fleets can benefit from the high performance of these truck tyres over the complete life cycle.

The final factor and indeed often the largest variable is driving technique. Fleets that put their drivers through regular training say that this is the single most important factor in reducing fuel bills. It also helps tyres last longer.

The combination of the most efficient truck tyres in terms of mileage and fuel economy, proper tyre management, regular vehicle maintenance, correct loading and driver training all combine to reduce fleet operating costs and improve efficiency. This means optimising the total cost of ownership. Getting the most out of truck tyres is possible, fleets need to always keep it in mind.

For more information on Goodyear’s range, visit

Posted: 07/09/2016 14:23:11 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments