Great Britain’s traffic enforcement agencies have issued the latest in a series of warnings about the Driver CPC training deadline for ‘acquired rights’ lorry drivers, which is now less than six months away.
In a press statement, the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and the Office of the Traffic Commissioner reminded both lorry drivers and their employers that failing to meet the Driver CPC training requirements carries the risk of fines of up to £1,000, or even the loss of livelihood should traffic commissioners decide to suspend drivers’ or operators’ licences.
While the vast majority have begun training, DVSA reiterated that all ‘acquired rights’ drivers should ensure that they have completed 35 hours of periodic training before the deadline of 10 September 2014.
DVSA chief executive Alastair Peoples commented: “Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world and one of the ways we aim to keep them so is by encouraging all drivers to keep their skills up to date. This is particularly important for professional drivers.
“We’ve been encouraged by the number of lorry drivers participating in periodic training, but we urge all professional drivers and their employers to be aware of the deadlines and make sure they will be able to comply.
“DVSA enforcement officers already routinely check the Driver CPC status of professional drivers. After the deadline they’ll be able to check whether ‘acquired rights’ lorry drivers have completed their training or are driving illegally. Not being aware of Driver CPC is not an excuse for drivers or operators.”
Joan Aitken, traffic commissioner for Scotland and lead commissioner for the Driver CPC scheme, added: “This is a critical time for the HGV industry. Driver CPC is not an optional extra – it is a must.
“The conduct of drivers will be under the spotlight and vocational licence holders may face sanctions, including suspension.
“Operators could also find themselves before commissioners if there are issues around the circumstances in which a driver was working without the driver qualification card (DQC), or failed to produce it.
“Licence undertakings are absolutely key to being a compliant operator and observing the laws relating to the driving and operation of vehicles is one of them. If you don’t meet those responsibilities traffic commissioners may look to take regulatory action.
“Our message on this has always been clear – don’t risk your livelihood.”
December saw the number of DCPC training hours recorded slump from nearly 555,000 in November to less than 326,000, according to figures released by DVSA.
Nearly 14,000 drivers completed their 35 hours of approved training in December, compared to just over 17,524 in November.
Industry sources suggest that the decline in training hours in December is because the industry was busier than expected in the run-up to Christmas: an abnormally large number of new trucks were put on the road in December too (Transport Operator 33).
The number of new drivers acquiring the qualification by examination remained virtually the same as November at 1,847, but only just over 13,900 drivers completed their 35 hours of training to acquire the qualification, compared to over 17,500 in November.
Nearly 695,000 drivers now either hold the DCPC card or are taking part in approved training.