Driver CPC training must be completed by 2013 by the bus and coach industry and 2014 for the commercial vehicle goods industry. That means less than 17 months left for all professional bus and coach drivers and less than 29 months for LGV drivers.
In other words the clock is ticking and it’s time to get your skates on! Those dates (10.9.2013 and 10.9.2014) are fixed and will not be going away. Figures recently published confirm at least 500,000 drivers have started Driver CPC periodic training (completed at least 7 hours.) So more drivers have embraced and started Driver CPC training as opposed to those who have not.
Even with the best calculations and estimates no one knows for sure how many drivers are required to complete this training. Some say 650,000 whilst other put the number at 800,000 drivers. The main problem seems to be in determining which vocational licence holders are actually driving commercially and which are not.
For example every person who passed their car test pre 1.1.1997 will have gained category C1 (7.5 tonnes) entitlement automatically, and as Driver CPC includes drivers of vehicle over 3.5 tonnes these licence holders could be “in the Driver CPC club”. This despite never having taken a vocational driving test.
The same applies for D1 (minibus.) However having gained D1 via grandfather rights would have also come with a 101 restriction meaning not for hire and reward. To get the 650,000 – 800,000 drivers required figure VOSA, DVLA, DSA, DfT etc. used the Operator Licensing scheme information.
Any commercial vehicle (passenger or goods vehicles) used on the public highway in the UK must be in possession of an operator licence. Therefore VOSA (Operator licence enforcement) will know how many commercial vehicles (and drivers) each operator has. Rudimentarily we know but at least it gives industry something to work by. DVLA knows how many driving licence holders have vocational entitlement but they do not know how many of these holders are actually driving vocationally.
Therein lies the problem. No one really knows. Also the DSA made a conscious decision not to record HGV and PCV Driver CPC hours separately so we cannot determine how many (of the 500,000+ drivers who have started Driver CPC) are PCV and how many are HGV. Time will only tell on this one.
Driver CPC Perceptions
Some within industry see Driver CPC as another way to tax and victimise the commercial operator and driver. Others see it as a real chance to improve and recognise the professionalism within industry.
For an industry that has never had a legal obligation to carry out regular ongoing formal training then it can be argued Driver CPC is well overdue.
Consider too Pre Driver CPC implementation meant the only formal training most drivers underwent was the driver training to pass the driving test itself.
Drivers passed their driving test on a Friday and were then driving a 44 tonnes goods vehicle the following Monday with little or no idea of how to use a tacho or what drivers’ hours regulations were.
In an industry that is so heavily regulated surely drivers should be competent and understand what their legal obligations are and more importantly how to keep within the rules? Driver CPC should give new and existing drivers more confidence and competence.
There are faults with Driver CPC. It’s not perfect. It has been proven there are elements of poor training and lax enforcement of the regulations. You will always get individuals and companies exploiting the rules. However overall things are improving. JAUPT and DSA have grown teeth and are coming down hard on those who don’t follow the rules. And rightly so.
Poor and substandard training should not be permitted and the authorities must enforce (and be seen to enforce) the regulations. What many people still don’t get is that substandard training and going home after just 4 hours is to the detriment of the driver. He or she is the one who loses out. Also employers who have paid for a 7 hour course should get just that. 7 hours.
I work for a local, established and reputable training company and we do see drivers attend the course with pre-misconceptions and (sometimes) the attitude of you can’t teach me anything I don’t already know.
It can be hard converting a sceptical audience. However within the 1st 15 minutes we ask some basic straight forward questions which compliant drivers should know and be aware off.
For example one question we pose is: when should drivers insert their tachodisc or card (digital or analogue) when starting work. Most say “just before I am about to start driving.”
Not correct. The tacho card or disc should be inserted into the tachograph machine before they (drivers) start their walk round checks and “other duties” should be selected. That way if you are stopped by enforcement and they analyse your card or chart they can see you have set aside 15-20 minutes for your pre-shift walk round checks.
We are not trying to catch the driver out, we are just confirming what they, as professional drivers should know.
If the current trend continues not everyone will have completed their 35 hours before 10.9.2013 and 10.9.2014 and no one knows for sure what action VOSA (and enforcement) will take. Will the public highway be littered with trucks, coaches and buses where drivers (who don’t have a Driver CPC card) will be forced to park up and stop driving?
The only real way to be certain is to comply and get the hours completed (before the deadline.) There are some good deals to be had before and it’s advised you take up on these offers before Driver CPC really kicks off. The nearer the deadlines the higher the demand. The higher demand the higher the prices. Its market forces!
You can use our search page to find a quality approved training company in your area.
Don’t leave it too late!!
Posted by Sean Pargeter 20/02/2012