Driving Force Award Win January 2018

Driving Force Bristol Wins Award for Excellence

At Gap Personnel’s 20th Anniversary awards evening at the Hilton in Manchester we were extremely proud that Driving Force won an award for excellence which went to our Bristol  branch.

For such a young team the hard work and dedication shown by everyone has resulted in some excellent results with a 22% increase on previous year.

Well Done Bristol!!

Pic from Left to right – Jess Roberts, Lee Morris, Connor King, Dan Smith, John Sutcliffe (Director), Amy Vincent

 

 

The 10 top reasons that HGVs fail their annual tests

The 10 top reasons that HGVs fail their annual tests

An EU directive revised the HGV MOT rules in 2014, slightly extending the range of vehicles obliged to have HGV examinations (lighter trailers, fast tractors), and changing some of the tests. The declared intention is to reduce the number of fatalities on Europe’s roads due to vehicle faults, from over 5 every day to zero.

Both to protect your HGV drivers and other road users and to avoid expensive and inconvenient MOT fails, the following are issues to give thought to, as the MOT gets closer.

Headlamp beams

Beams are the single most common cause of fails. The new rules widen the tolerance for beam direction and simplify the test for light bleeding into the “dazzle zone”, but it should still be a priority check before the test.

Lamps

The larger your vehicle, the more lamps it could have – side markers, fog lamps, registration plate lights, fork-lift lights and so on. It isn’t difficult to check they all work and are securely mounted. They must be the right colour, brightly lit, properly hooded (if they’re meant to be) and positioned correctly.

General braking systems

This is the reason for a fail in approximately 3.3% of tests. We hope you inspect your braking system regularly anyway, whether you’re the usual driver of your vehicle or not. That way you’ll know whether anything could cause a problem before the inspection becomes due.

Service brakes

2.5% of fails are from service brake tests. The kinds of test varies with the kind of brakes – air pressure, vacuums, hydraulics and so forth. A simple thing to check is that any hydraulic fluid isn’t simply too old to do its job.

Steering

Stiffness, looseness or sticky movement could get you a fail. Other than ensuring you have no loose bolts or brackets, there isn’t a lot you can do at the last minute, so try to be aware of developing issues well in advance of the test.

Suspension

This is not easy to fix cheaply if you anticipate an issue, but why not do it in advance and save the extra costs of a MOT fail and unplanned off-road time? Keep your eye on the service history, so that you have an idea when bearings and other parts are approaching the limit of their expected mileage.

Parking brakes

The MOT test will check that the parking brake is working correctly when applied fully, with no unexpected looseness or movement.

Secondary brakes

The tests for secondary brakes are similar to those for parking brakes. Again, HGV drivers should report any change in braking behaviour promptly, so that it can be rectified.

Tachographs and speedos

Seals will be checked for tampering, of course, but a common cause of a fail is simply a time clock that no longer works properly. This is a common fault, so you might want to take a look before you put the vehicle into the test centre.

Wiring

Routeing of wiring around the engine is a simple but common cause of a fail. It must be positioned securely so that it’s at no risk of either heat or mechanical chafing.

The DVSA itself says that simple, regular upkeep would save almost half of vehicles from a MOT failure.

How truckers can stay healthy on the road

How truckers can stay healthy on the road

Tell HGV drivers they lead a sedentary lifestyle and they won’t be amused – driving is tiring work. From the medical point of view, though, long hours sitting in a cab pose many of the same risks as sedentary office-based roles, as some additional risks too.

Old fashioned advice, such as to go jogging at weekends and to eat well, are not only difficult to keep up in today’s world, but some of the supposed benefits have actually been discredited. Jogging could put a strain on your heart, and the definition of what is or isn’t healthy eating changes every few months.

When it comes to sound health advice, HGV drivers are left wondering where to turn.

Help is available, in the form of new devices and phone apps designed to keep us better in touch with the state of our health and to help us improve it.

Health trackers

Worn as bracelets, clips, smart-watches, pocket devices or even headbands, these now range from one purpose devices up to elaborate models almost as good as the tricorder used by Star Trek’s Doctor McCoy. The ‘Scanadu’ and the Viacom Check me have both used that very comparison in their marketing. The Scanadu is a small handheld device that only needs holding to a forehead for a couple of seconds to determine heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, oxygen level and even an ECG – all sent to your smartphone by Bluetooth.

Keep fit

Other devices focus more on keeping fit, rather than providing diagnostics. By monitoring your daily activity levels, they set goals aimed to maintain your fitness, even while you’re in the cab.

Some of the brand names of these devices are already familiar to professional drivers and include TomTom and Garmin. Others include Samsung Gear, the Microsoft band, the Apple Watch, Jawbone and FitBit.

Stress

Stress can cause heart disease, obesity, diabetes, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, and anxiety. It impairs focus, sleep and positivity of mind, so the Muse headband is a meditation assistant designed to reduce those stress levels, as is the PIP stress manager biosensor.

Sleep

Many devices and phone apps aim at improving sleep – a common problem for long distance HGV drivers. One is the Android Sleep App, which pairs with a sleep tracker device to wake you at the best time, so you’ll be rested but not groggy.

Blood pressure

The Withings Blood Pressure Monitor measures heart rate, blood pressure and even the number of steps you take each week and sends a report to your mobile phone. Similar devices are used by the NHS.

Exercise aids

The Fitness app is intended for those who aren’t able to get to the gym, and it gets you a 5-10 minute lunch break workout. Freeletics is similar but programmed with hundreds of workout regimens, and it focuses on weight control.

If you can get to a gym, Gymwatch Fitness Tracker provides coaching and tries to motivate you. For runners, the Couch to 5k app works you up to being able to run 5000 metres in just 2 months.

Too strenuous?

Then try a shoot-‘em-up computer game. Passionate involvement in some games is as good as a workout. Just don’t get stressed!

Scania truck

Don’t let restrictions on your workforce add to driver shortage

Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming EU referendum, Britain cannot afford to let workforce restrictions add to the growing shortage of drivers facing the country.

Rob Eyes, Operations Director of Driving Force said “Whatever the result on June 23 when we vote to stay or leave the EU, the growing shortage of temporary drivers is not going to go away and qualified commercial drivers come from across Europe as well as the UK. The transport and logistics sector doesn’t need any deterrents for this vital workforce.

We are facing unprecedented demand for drivers to feed the country’s increasing appetite for online shopping and home deliveries. Reports indicate that the UK will need an extra 150,000 drivers within the next five years.

So whether we stay or leave, we must encourage young people across the nation to see the professional driver industry as a viable and rewarding career path, where training and investment is available. The UK simply cannot afford to let any workforce restrictions contribute to further decline in the dwindling agency pool of qualified temporary drivers.”

For more information about Driving Force’s training opportunities, visit our Driver Training page.