Monday, May 13, 2013

Freight and Road Haulage Groups Question Transport Ministry's CPC Directive Instructions

United Front as to the Definition of Professional Driver
Shipping News Feature

UK – Senior representatives from the logistics sector have expressed their deep concerns over advice issued recently by the Department for Transport (DfT) regarding garage technicians and mechanics driving heavy goods vehicles to statutory annual tests being considered in-scope of the Driver CPC Directive (2003/59/EC). The Freight Transport Association (FTA) and Road Haulage Association (RHA) have again joined forces with a joint letter to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Stephen Hammond MP.

The associations raised the point that according to industry estimates there are more than 30,000 technicians in the UK, and added that although they were aware that a few companies have taken the decision to include these employees in their DCPC training programmes, they believed that the vast majority have not. The difference between a mechanic and a professional driver should be obvious but the instruction from the DfT makes no allowances for this.

The RHA and FTA point out that, in their opinion, the Directive was never intended to include such activity, and referring the Minister to the title of the Directive 2003/59/EC and the frequent references within which refer to ‘the profession of driver’ which would seem to preclude anyone who merely drives such vehicles occasionally as an incidental part of carrying out their principal employment.

The two organisations go on to say with so many additional staff potentially covered by the new legislation, and just over a year to achieve full compliance by training all of these up to the required standard, the cost to the road freight industry would be completely disproportionate to any benefits achievable. Theo de Pencier, FTA Chief Executive said:

“The FTA feels strongly that the recent advice issued by the DfT represents an unreasonable reading of the Directive which we believe will put undue burden on our members and all businesses within the logistics sector. It also appears to run contrary to the Department’s stated aim – presented in the Logistics Growth Review and the Red Tape Challenge – to reduce the regulatory burdens placed on industry.”

Mr de Pencier was supported by Geoff Dunning, RHA Chief Executive who added: “The RHA doesn’t think that the Directive was ever intended to include the same restrictions on technicians and mechanics carrying out these activities, and the frequent reference to ‘the profession of driver’ in the recital confirms to us that technicians, who are neither professional drivers nor engaged in the carriage of goods, were not who the Commission had in mind when developing these requirements.”

Photo: Courtesy of Sibley Material Movements who, amongst their haulage interests, undertake HGV MOT test preparation work at their Southampton premises.