Friday 27 November 2020

Driver CPC moves with the times

The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced a number of changes to the Driver CPC scheme which it says will make training more flexible, and compliance easier and cheaper.

Following its analysis of responses to a recent consultation on the topic, the government’s changes – which it said would come into force on 22 July this year – include a move to allow 12 out of the 35 hours of required periodic training to be completed via e-learning.

The government said its amendments would also allow seven-hour training periods to be split over two days for increased flexibility, and encourage training programmes that better align with drivers’ specific work, such as dangerous goods or transport of passengers.

“We intend to maintain our current flexibility by not imposing a syllabus and allowing drivers to choose their own courses,” said DVSA.

“The effect of these changes will give drivers more choice on the type of subjects they wish to study to make up the periodic training and remove the burden of having to repeat training for dangerous goods or other training and Driver CPC.

“These changes, coupled with spreading the seven hours over two days, should make it easier and cheaper for industry to comply.”

An exemption to Driver CPC will be granted for: “drivers of vehicles used, or hired without a driver, by agricultural, horticultural, forestry, farming or fishery undertakings for carrying goods as part of their own entrepreneurial activity, except if driving is part of the driver’s principal activity or the driving exceeds a distance set in national law from the base of the undertaking which owns, hires or leases the vehicle.”

However, on this last point, DVSA added: “We do not consider that limiting the distances travelled to a pre-determined radius would be justified at the present time. DVSA is due to carry out a post implementation review of the Driver CPC regulations in 2021 and this approach will be subject to further review then.

“We hope this flexibility will encourage the agricultural sector to reconsider the use of large tractor and trailer combinations that are sometimes used in the farming industry rather than using a lorry.”

In addition, the government said it would continue to recognise Swiss Driver CPC.

“The UK currently recognises Swiss Driver CPC by virtue of the EU-Swiss Land Transport Agreement, however, we will no longer be party to that treaty upon exit,” it explained.

“The UK has already agreed with Switzerland on reciprocal recognition which will supplement the UK-Swiss Land Transport Agreement that was signed in January 2019.

“Maintaining high standards of HGV and PSV driver training for Swiss drivers ensures parity with domestic HGV and PSV drivers who are required under law to undertake initial and periodic training to demonstrate their competence to drive large vehicles.”

The DVSA received 192 responses to its online consultation as well as 26 further submissions. Participants included road hauliers, road safety bodies, driver training associations, public transport associations, vehicle manufacturers and other professionals from the road transport sector.

Dr Nigel Kirkwood of training provider Tachograph Analysis Consultants Ltd (TACL) told Transport Operator that there had been “general consensus” on the government’s proposals, and that the Driver CPC was now “coming of age”.

“Initially treated with some scepticism and seen in some quarters as yet another administrative burden imposed by Brussels, the DCPC has been embraced and turned the legislative requirement into a force for good,” he commented.

“There is nearly always room for change and improvement from when legislation is originally introduced.

“It is to be greatly welcomed that government and enforcement are listening carefully to industry stakeholders across the widest of spectrums in an effort to fulfil the original concepts of the DCPC, to be of benefit of all in the industry, the public and indeed, road safety itself.”

The full consultation outcome can be found at the DVSA website.

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