Although there seems to be a dramatic and pleasing upsurge in the take up of Driver CPC approved periodic training, since the beginning of 2012, there also seems to be some evidence of issues with regard to new drivers to the industry successfully gaining their category C vocational licence, but either failing or not being put forward for their Driver CPC initial qualification examinations at the same time.
Recently we have been given evidence of a newly qualified driver being employed as a professional vocational driver, even though he did not posses a Driver Qualification Card (DQC), gained by examination. This is a serious driving offence that could lead to problems for both the driver and his/her employer.
I believe that this type of non-compliance is taking place largely because of ignorance of the rules, rather than both a driver and an operator trying to save what is in effect a very small amount of time and money by the driver not going through the case study and practical tests to gain a DQC. If caught this type of infringement of the rules could not only lead to prosecutions, but also action being taken against the operators insurers.
True, it is not the legal responsibility of driver training schools to ensure that their training candidates are working within the law when they leave them. However, I believe that all of us that are involved and gaining a living from this sector of industry should be willing to spend time and effort discussing the pitfalls of not following the rules.
THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE DRIVER CPC - INITIAL QUALIFICATION
Any one who has gained their category C vocational driving licence from 10th September 2009 onwards must also have passed the Driver CPC theory and practical tests, in addition to the licence acquisition theory and practical tests, if they intend to drive professionally.
After a driver who has passed their category C tests has then taken and passed their Driver CPC initial qualification tests a driver qualification card (DQC) will be sent to their home address and they must carry that DQC with them whilst driving professionally
IT IS AN OFFENCE FOR A DRIVER WHO GAINED THEIR VOCATIONAL CATEGORY C DRIVING LICENCE FROM 10 SEPTEMBER 2009 ONWARDS TO DRIVE FOR A LIVING IF THEY DO NOT POSSESS A DRIVER QUALIFICATION CARD - FURTHERMORE
, IT IS AN OFFENCE FOR ANY OPERATOR TO PERMIT SUCH A DRIVER TO WORK ON THEIR BEHALF AS A PROFESSIONAL DRIVER
THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE DRIVER CPC - PERIODIC TRAINING
All professional category C holders (i.e. C, C1, CE, C1E) who already held the vocational qualification and were driving for a living before 10th September 2009 have been granted 'acquired rights' that permits them to continue driving for a living without holding a driver qualification card (DQC), but only up until 9th September 2014.
If they wish to continue driving for a living after 9th September 2014 they must undertake a minimum of 35 hours' of approved periodic training before that date, which will result in them being issued with a DQC.
Undertaking approved periodic training does not require the driver to take any tests or pass any examinations. Only those taking the initial qualification are required to take and pass tests.
I believe that the difference between the two different ways of gaining a driver qualification card are not fully understood by everyone. Some candidates for periodic training come along with the understanding that they must pass a test to continue driving for a living, while it seems as though some new entrants to the industry are not made aware of the fact that they DO have to take and pass tests to drive professionally!
It is the responsibility of everyone who is employed within this sector of industry to know and understand the rules. Operators who take on drivers who do not have the appropriate qualifications are liable to prosecutions being taken against them and the Traffic Commissioner calling them up so that they can explain as to why they are not running their operation as per the legal obligations they entered into with him when he granted the licence!
If in doubt........find out......and quick!!
HOW MANY HAVE STARTED TO UNDERTAKE DRIVER CPC PERIODIC TRAINING?
Government statistics show a that total of 474,658 existing vocational commercial vehicle and passenger transport drivers had completed at least 7 hours Driver CPC approved periodic training by the end of the third year since its introduction, which was in September 2008 for passenger transport drivers.
Sadly, the statistics do not show how many hours each individual driver has completed. However, there does appear to be a shortfall in drivers, as between 650,000 and 800,000 are expected to require a driver qualificaion card (DQC) by 2014 and as already explained above this can only be gained by existing drivers if they undertake 35 hours of approved periodic training by September 2014.
The figures seem to show that between 175,000 – 325,000 LGV and PCV drivers have not started any Driver CPC training at all yet. On the positive side it is stated that 3,377 vocational drivers have already undertaken their first required 35 hours of periodic training and they have been issued with their first DQC's.
At the time of writing I understand that there are 1,189 JAUPT approved training centres that can provide approved periodic training courses, with Truck UK being one of them - approved training centre number AC00184. If you have any queries or concerns regarding your operation and ensuring your drivers' are properly trained and qualified send me an e-mail at email@example.com outling your problems and including your full return contact details - including a verifiable postal address.
Steve Williams - February 2012