Those that are new to professional driving must get a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence before they can drive an HGV, bus or coach. Existing professional drivers have been granted what are termed ‘acquired rights’.
As fleet operators and vocational licence holders alike will be well aware, if an HGV driver has ‘acquired rights’, he or she must complete their 35 hours of periodic training by the 9th September 2014. Coach drivers in a similar position had until the 9th September 2013 to complete 35 hours periodic training.
Periodic training is designed to not only ensure that vocational licence holders continue to be safe and fuel-efficient drivers, it’s also designed to help drivers keep up to date with changing legislation.
Once those 35 hours of periodic training have been completed, drivers will be issued with their Driver Qualification Card. Drivers will then be required to complete 35 hours of periodic training every five years throughout their professional driving career.
Roadside checks carried out on HGV drivers and their vehicles by VOSA and the police will inevitably include checking that the driver has undergone the necessary training and holds a valid Driver Qualification Card. Failure to comply is likely to result in penalties for both the driver and the operator.
Whilst there are obviously costs associated with putting drivers through the Driver CPC, there are potential benefits too. The Driver CPC aims to help reduce the number of road accident-related casualties through further raising road safety awareness and driving standards amongst vocational licence holders.
Further benefits of driver CPC training include:
Substantial fuel bill savings as well as economies through reduced tyre wear, less truck and driver down-time and less management time wasted dealing with disrupted delivery schedules
Cutting accident frequency and severity leading to lower insurance premiums, a cut in uninsured damage and a marked reduction in the risk of brand damage resulting from a fatal accident involving a liveried vehicle
Helping fulfil corporate responsibilities from an occupational road risk perspective thereby also significantly reducing the risk of a successful manslaughter or corporate manslaughter prosecution against your business following a fatality.
Approved Driver CPC training courses can only be delivered through a JAUPT registered provider offering training in minimum units of 7 hours. Courses of between one and five days are available, a five day course satisfying the full 35 hour Driver CPC requirement. Towergate has its own in-house JAUPT registered training provider, Safedrive. To find out more, call and ask to speak to your usual Towergate adviser or visit Safe Drive Training.