As a lorry driver, or a business employing drivers, you will know that there are rules around CPC – Certificate of Professional Competence – and ongoing training.
The requirement is for drivers to complete 35 hours of periodic training every five years to be allowed to retain their CPC qualification.
However, there is evidence that some drivers have been abusing the system, by repeating the same training to reach the required 35 hours, rather than undertaking a variety of training to ensure they retain and develop skills.
In some cases, instead of spreading the training across the five year period, drivers have been doing all 35 hours at the last minute, repeating the same module to ensure their CPC remains valid. The ideal is to complete seven hours, per year, for each five year period.
This potential loophole has now been tightened up, following a review of Driver CPC training and recommendations made by the European Commission, which the Government has adopted.
What do the CPC rules mean for lorry drivers?
The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will begin monitoring training to ensure it isn’t being repeated unnecessarily, simply to reach the 35-hour requirement. It will do this by looking at training records.
Where it seems that unnecessary training has been taken, then drivers are at risk of having their DQC – Driver Qualification Card – revoked.
What do drivers need to do?
The point of the CPC training is for drivers to retain and improve their skills across a range of disciplines, which actively benefit them, their job and their employers.
This means, the DVSA will only sanction repeat training if it helps to embed the driver’s knowledge and supports their development.
Drivers need to spread their training across each five year period and look for a variety of training topics, focusing on areas they would like to develop or where they feel they need a refresher.
CPC training during Coronavirus
This of course is a fluid situation but at this point – during the third national lockdown in England – the DVSA is advising that driver training be conducted remotely.
It does not appear that extensions to CPC validities will be allowed, so every effort must be made for training to be carried out online.
Changes to driver medicals
There have also been other important driving sector changes, including around the frequency of driver medicals.
Once a vocational licence holder (lorry or bus driver) reaches the age of 45, they are required to have a medical every five years – sooner if they have a medical condition – in order to renew their licence. Those over 65 must renew it annually.
Because of the pandemic and pressure on the health services, legislation was amended and the requirement for a medical in order to renew a licence was waived. Instead, drivers have been issued a one year extension by making a self-declaration of health.
This waiver cannot be used twice, and currently the representative group Logistics UK is working with the DVSA to see if a waiver extension is necessary.
In the meantime, the DVSA is issuing reminders to drivers 56 days in advance of a licence expiring, so drivers should contact their GP surgery as soon as possible to ensure they can book a medical ahead of the renewal date.
Other changes affecting lorry drivers
During the pandemic and as a consequence of Brexit, there have been temporary relaxations in drivers’ hours due to delays in freight movement. You can find more information here.
From February 1, new rules come into force regarding vehicle defect standards, which ban the use of tyres over ten years old, on heavy vehicles and some minibuses. More details here.
To keep up-to-date with regular changes affecting drivers, the DVSA has lots of useful information on its blog page.
If you are looking for driver roles, or need drivers for your business, please get in touch with the driver recruitment team at 24-7 Staffing. We specialise in driver recruitment and we cover Chippenham, Bristol, Salisbury, Wiltshire and the South West.