Motoring TV personality Quentin Wilson test driving the new simulator at Effective Transport Solutions

A virtual reality driving training centre has officially opened its doors – utilising EAL awards to qualify fleets of drivers at haulage firms, emergency services and local authorities.

The cutting-edge centre was launched by Tadea, an energy efficiency specialist, at their Washington-based Effective Transport Solutions facility, near Sunderland. Utilising EAL’s Level 1 Award in Effective Driving Techniques, the centre will help fleet motoring become safer, greener and more financially sustainable.

Julia Chippendale, Managing Director of EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications, said: “Tadea’s state-of-the-art driving simulators are hugely impressive and will help to make driving safer and greener – not to mention save costs for organisations using fleets of drivers. I am very proud that EAL is playing an important role.”

For the official launch event over 50 delegates from across the fleet and professional motoring sectors were given a guided tour of the new centre and an opportunity to get behind the wheel of the purpose-built simulators. TV Motoring personality Quentin Wilson was The special guest and keynote speaker was, a staunch advocate of higher driving standards.

He said: “I’m hugely impressed with Tadea’s driver education initiatives. This is the sort of programme that should be rolled out across the UK, from schools to the workplace. The benefits to society from safer driving and fuel efficiency add up to hundreds of millions.”

Effective Transport Solutions offers base-level simulators which utilise three-screen technology and state-of-the-art simulation software. There are also higher specification simulators which are housed in BMW Minis, with wrap-around projector screens providing a more immersive and even more authentic training experience. Both types of the simulator can switch between an internal combustion engine and an electric vehicle, maximising the training opportunities available.

Gordon Pattie, Manager at Effective Transport Solutions, said: “This is a fantastic facility and one which, through the high-quality training we provide, offers huge advantages for businesses with vehicles on the road – not just those based in the North East, but across the UK as a whole.

“Our aims are to reduce accidents and to help businesses cut fuel costs and carbon emissions. It is the only training centre of its kind in the country and this project has the potential to significantly boost both safety and sustainability on our roads.”

The new service received an investment boost in August 2014 when it was awarded £114,750 by the Let’s Grow Fund, the Journal and Evening Gazette-led collaboration with BE Group and UNW LLP, which provides grant support for capital investment and research and development projects creating or safeguarding jobs in the North East.

Simon Allen, Senior Project Manager at BE Group, added: “We are pleased to support Tadea’s Effective Transport Solutions driver training centre through the Let’s Grow Fund. This is a unique service – one that has not been offered in the UK before and one which clearly has a great deal of potential.

“Having such a centre in the North East is a great opportunity for the region: not only can Tadea’s Effective Transport Solutions help to create new jobs and establish new networks, but it also looks set to open up driver training to groups and businesses not typically able to access it – helping to significantly boost levels of sustainability and safety on the UK’s roads as a result.”

For more information on Tadea’s Effective Transport Solutions centre.

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