The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is concerned that proposed revisions to the European Commission’s Driver CPC Directive (Certificate of Professional Competence) could limit operators’ ability to provide relevant training for their drivers.
FTA says the planned changes (which prevent refresher courses on the same subject during the five-year period) could mean specialised training required in certain industries will not be recognised and this could hamper keeping drivers up to date with changes to legislation.
Driver CPC is valued by FTA members and the wider road freight industry as a means of recognising driving as a profession and demonstrating and benchmarking the skills required. Indeed, at last year’s FTA Transport Manager conference series delegates voted Driver CPC as one of the European laws they would amend rather than scrap post Brexit.
Today’s long-awaited document from the European Commission follows an evaluation completed in 2014 which was broadly positive, highlighting safety improvements and labour mobility. However, a number of shortcomings were identified that are now being addressed. One of these states that the 35 hours mandatory training over a five-year period must cover different subjects, rather than focusing on one area of the training curriculum.
Chris Yarsley, FTA’s EU Affairs Manager, said: “Driver CPC is one piece of European legislation that our members are keen to preserve because it validates the role of the driver and gives individuals a sense of professional worth.
“However, one of the proposed revisions prevents training on the same subject within the five-year period. Therefore, an unintended consequence could be that a driver would undertake training that was less relevant to his or her role just to fulfil the statutory requirement. This would particularly apply to operators who carry dangerous goods or are involved in security work, where very specific training is required on a regular basis.” FTA says it is vital that Driver CPC training remains flexible, so that operators can adapt to their own driver needs. Attention should also be given to how training is delivered and increased flexibility provided, as a seven-hour block of learning may not be the best method for each individual.
The changes could be agreed by the European Commission before Brexit, so would continue to apply following the Great Repeal Bill until otherwise decided.