Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Definition of Road Haulage Driver Clarified as Freight Group Issues CPC Training Reminder

Ministry Makes Sensible Decision as Clock Winds Down for Others
Shipping News Feature

UK – The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has applauded the intervention of Transport Minister Stephen Hammond in confirming that he has overturned the original instructions of his departments lawyers which would have meant that technicians taking HGVs to test were included as ‘professional drivers’ and therefore subject to Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) regulations. Meanwhile the Freight Transport Association (FTA) which also raised the issue jointly with ministers, has issued a reminder that some drivers have only a month left to complete their compulsory CPC training.

Mr Hammond’s decision comes after strong lobbying for a common sense outcome for mechanics and workshop staff working on behalf of road haulage companies as detailed in our articles in May and June. Both the RHA and FTA pointed out that he original EU wording intended to standardise training was never meant to affect those who, although licensed to drive larger vehicles, only did so on a very restricted basis as opposed to doing it as an occupation.

This is not the end for the RHA however which is continuing to review the entire CPC procedure. This includes how regulation by the DSA might be improved, how employers might improve its value to their businesses and how the core Directive might be improved so that it is more appropriate to the industry. The European Commission has just issued a consultation on the matter, and the RHA says this hints at more prescriptive and potentially expensive options.

The FTA has pointed out this week that drivers of passenger carrying vehicles (PCVs), have only until the 10th September to complete their compulsory Driver CPC training. Without the mandatory 35 hours of approved training by a recognised professional VOSA and the Traffic Commissioners will take action against vocational drivers and any operators who allow them to drive illegally.

The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) applies to all new and existing drivers who wish to drive professionally and who require a large goods vehicle (LGV) or passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) licence in order to do their job. All drivers of passenger carrying vehicles, holding a category D, D1, D+E or D1+E licence at 10 September 2008, need to complete 35 hours of periodic training before 10 September 2013 unless exempt. After this, they will need to undertake a further 35 hours of training in every subsequent five-year period in order to retain their Driver CPC. Details of the requirements can be seen on the government website.

Freight drivers have a further year to complete the necessary course but the fear is that if many companies put off the inevitable they may leave it too late to sign up before the deadline. Whilst there are many training options available to operators both the RHA courses and FTA courses are worthy of consideration.

Photo: US actor and comedian Jonathan Winters who died in April aged 87 appearing as truck driver Lennie Pike in Stanley Kramer’s epic 1963 comedy It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.