Broker urges action on DQC renewals

By Categories: NewsPublished On: Sunday 3 March 2024

Ian McCarron (right), with fellow director Paul Coates. Image: McCarron Coates

McCarron Coates, the specialist transport insurance broker, has urged operators of HGVs to plan ahead as regards Driver CPC training, as a major deadline looms.

The forthcoming five-yearly training deadline for ‘acquired rights’ lorry drivers (those who acquired their vocational licence before 10 September 2009) is 9 September 2024.

The broker cites reports from last year suggesting that almost half a million driver qualification cards (DQCs) would expire by the deadline, for cards issued to HGV drivers in 2019.

DQCs cannot be renewed without drivers having complet­ed the required 35 hours of pe­riodic training over the last five years. Fines of up to £1,000 can be issued for those caught driving professionally without a valid DQC, with operators also potentially facing serious conse­quences.

McCarron Coates highlights the role the Covid-19 pandemic played in reducing opportunities to complete training during the current cycle, and warns oper­ators against getting caught up in a last-minute training rush, to avoid issues with course book­ings, and situations whereby drivers are off-road trying to cram in training hours.

McCarron Coates director, Ian McCarron, said: “Opera­tors need to take a proactive approach now, building an ac­curate picture of their drivers’ situations. They should gain temporary access to drivers’ CPC record, to check how many required CPC hours have been completed. From there, they should get drivers onto courses and phase in what could be any­thing up to 35 hours of training, well before the deadline.”

McCarron warns that some in­surers will not cover agency driv­ers. A discussion with a fleet’s insurer needs to be had, says the broker, if the way of handling driver absence will impact on the policy’s validity. Operators should also check that drivers have not duplicated a training module, the firm advises.

“Checking on a driver’s CPC qualifications and history typi­cally happens at recruitment but is something that can then slip from view,” said McCarron.

“Operators should stay on top of this but also better plan CPC training throughout the five years, rather than letting it be a last-minute action that simply ticks a box.

“CPC training, if better phased across the five years, can better contribute to road safety and driver awareness of driving laws introduced on a continuous ba­sis. Take, for instance, the Janu­ary 2022 Highway Code chang­es. How many fleets are 100 per cent sure that drivers appreciate the changes the new Code intro­duced?”

He added: “Training makes drivers safer, reduces their ac­cident risk and therefore reduc­es insurance claims frequency and premiums. It often leads to other benefits, such as fuel sav­ings, less vehicle wear and tear, better tyre management and an enhanced brand reputation.

“Fewer accidents mean fewer sick notes from drivers and less vehicle downtime. Staying acci­dent-free also means not letting clients down by failure to deliver on time. It can also keep employ­ers out of liability cases and le­gal wrangles.”