NICE recommends a “smoother driving” style to reduce air pollution

NICE recommends a “smoother driving

We were delighted to wake up today to read and hear news of new advice from NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) that smoother driving can significantly reduce the harmful emissions and unnecessary deaths that pollution is causing.

NICE advises that 25,000 deaths a year can be linked to the air pollution caused by traffic, much of which is produced unnecessarily due to inefficient driving styles.

It attributes a lot of these excess emissions to rapid acceleration and deceleration, which consumes considerably more fuel than driving at a constant speed and, in turn, generates a larger amount of air pollution.

The health watchdog has advised that 64% of the air pollution in urban areas is caused by road traffic, and the impact this pollution is having on people’s health is costing the UK up to £18.6 billion a year. There are many diseases that health experts believe may be caused by air pollution, such as asthma and lung cancer, so cutting down on the emissions produced by traffic will be a step in reducing the current strain on our NHS.

The acting director of PHE’s centre of radiation, chemical and environmental hazards is Dr Jill Meara, who has said “As well as reducing the adverse impact of air pollution on health, the advice will help to improve people’s well being by encouraging exercise, and mitigating against climate change by reducing carbon emissions.”

NICE have suggested that speed bumps are also contributing to the problem, as they cause drivers to slow down and speed up quite quickly, which is not an economical way of driving. They also recommend the implementation of variable speed limits on motorways, reducing them to 50mph during the day because cars have to decelerate rapidly when they hit traffic, and increasing them again at night when there are fewer vehicles on the road.

Based on the millions of miles of driving data we’ve analysed at Lightfoot, we know that changing driver behaviour to result in a smoother driving style has a significant impact on reducing emissions (typically by up to 20%) as well as reducing fuel usage (again by up to 20%). What’s even more amazing is that a smoother driving style is also much less risky and Lightfoot drivers reduce their accident rates by up to 60%. All this is achieved purely by conditioning drivers to become smoother and steadier – something the Lightfoot technology is uniquely able to do.

One of our customers,  Steve Love, National Driver Development Manager for Alliance Healthcare, recently explained the impact Lightfoot is having on his drivers:

“Our drivers thought Lightfoot would add another hour to the day, but results show that actually it’s not doing this at all, instead they’re now coming back less stressed yet have been doing the same amount of work in the same amount of time that they did before.”

At Lightfoot we know that, as a nation, we can significantly cut down on the air pollution caused by road traffic by adopting the ‘smoother’ driving style recommended by NICE. We’re obviously biased and believe Lightfoot is far and away the best way to achieve this, but we welcome all initiatives like this one from NICE to encourage as many people as possible to become smooth drivers.

To read the full report by NICE, click here