Did you know that drivers of commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes gross weight will need to have 35 hours of approved training by September 2014? If they don’t, they’ll be breaking the law. Keith Child explains the details of the Driver CPC qualification.
Transport industry sources estimate that as many as one in three drivers of vehicles of over 3.5 tonnes gross weight could be unlicensed in September 2014, when the periodic training deadline passes. From September 10, 2009, all commercial drivers of Category C, C+E, C1 and C1+E licence vehicles who held a full licence on that date have had to undertake 35 hours of approved training every five years. So, we are at the half-way point in the first five-year training cycle.
Entitlement is shown by possession of a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence card or D-CPC (also known as a Driver Qualification Card or DQC). Training is undertaken in approved courses of seven hours each and can only be delivered by approved training providers.
The deadline by which all LGV drivers must achieve their first 35 hours of Driver CPC training is September 9, 2014 and the Freight Transport Association estimates that up to 30% truck drivers will still not have completed the training by then.
While the third-party transport and logistics industry has, at last, got a handle on this new legislation, it is thought that many drivers — particularly those serving the building trade and driving lighter trucks of between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes gross weight — may not even realise that the legislation applies to them.
Drivers of trucks of over 3.5 tonnes gross weight that have not completed the requisite 35 hours of training by September 10, 2014, will be unlicensed and taken off the road if they are stopped by the authorities. The trucks they were driving will only be released to drivers who can show both the appropriate licence AND a driver qualification card. Both the operator, and the driver will be liable for prosecution for using the vehicle without a valid licence, plus any insurance cover may be invalidated too.
And, as the deadline nears, there is no doubt that training is going to get more expensive and more difficult to book, especially for the more ‘convenient’ times.
Even some mainstream hauliers have been reluctant to allow their personnel to take the training early for fear that they’ll take their ‘new’ and, significantly, paid for qualifications elsewhere. Isobel Harding, FTA’s National Training Manager, says: “While awareness of these training obligations is high, there is a manifest reluctance from industry to invest in training drivers when there is a good chance that by the time the deadline comes around those same drivers might be working elsewhere. But this approach could leave many companies twisting in the wind as the deadline approaches and demand for good-value and meaningful training outstrips supply.”
What the law requires
All LGV drivers must undertake 35 hours of training, split into five sessions of seven hours each, every five years. The training courses must be approved by the Joint Approvals for Periodic Training (JAUPT) organisation that was established by the Government’s Driving Standards Agency (DSA), and can only delivered by a JAUPT approved training organisation.
Providing that your drivers already have photocard driving licences, they’ll be automatically issued with their Driver CPC cards free of charge upon completion of their 35 hours of training. Irrespective of the date on which the final seven hours of training are undertaken, their first cards will be valid for five years from September 10, 2014. This is the first day of the second five-year phase of Driver CPC training, during which a further 35 hours of training will have to be undertaken.
Drivers who passed their tests on or since 10 September 2009 can only obtain the Driver CPC by passing modules two (case studies) and four (practical test) of the LGV driving test and submitting application form DQC 1. They then have to maintain their entitlement by undertaking 35 hours of training every five years from the date at which they first obtained their Driver CPC card. Such drivers need to hold a Driver CPC card now, and this should be checked prior to recruitment, as a driver can still be awarded an LGV licence just for passing modules one (theory test) and three (on-road driving) of the test.
Not everyone who drives a truck of over 3.5 tonnes gross weight has to have a Driver CPC - but most do. Some exemptions exist — from the construction industry perspective, tradesmen such as a bricklayer or scaffolding erector who drives a truck loaded with tools and materials to a site and who then uses those materials in his own work will not require the Driver’s CPC. But a driver who takes tools or material to a site and unloads them for others to use, and does not use them himself, will need a Driver CPC.
Get ready for 2014
Card-carrying drivers are likely to be in short supply. Check drivers are qualified in plenty of time. Post September 9, 2014 check that all agency, part-time and casual drivers have cards before letting them out on the road — these are the very individuals who are most likely to have slipped through the net.
Pay particular attention to those driving 7.5-tonners using C1 licences on ‘grandfather rights’. Many of these individuals do not regard themselves as ‘heavy goods’ drivers as they have never taken the relevant test, and may be in complete ignorance of the Driver CPC.
Keith Child is Marketing Director of Isuzu Truck (UK).
8th August 2012