It has been two years since the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) was introduced, but industry concerns – including an annual driver attrition rate in some sectors of up to 20 per cent – have made industry reluctant to invest in compulsory training. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says that despite industry figures showing a sharp spike in the number of drivers embarking on their Driver CPC training in the first half of 2011, companies are still finding it hard to reconcile the cost of training against already stretched budgets, especially when they could be training drivers that won’t be working for them by the Driver CPC deadline of 2014.
James Firth, FTA’s Head of Road Freight and Enforcement Policy, said:
"We have detected reluctance from within industry to invest in training their drivers when there is a good chance that by the time the deadline for Driver CPC comes around those same drivers might be working elsewhere.
"The widely reported lack of engagement from industry with Driver CPC isn’t simply about companies burying their heads in the sand and hoping it will all go away, these are after all professional firms that by and large support the guiding principles behind Driver CPC. As such we wouldn’t be surprised if canny companies adopt a lower risk strategy of booking up their training modules now for their drivers to embark on nearer the deadline date."
According to the Driving Standards Agency, the number of drivers active on the database (which indicates the number of drivers who have uploaded at least 7 hours) rose sharply to over 410,000 at the end of June. In its recent submission to the Transport Select Committee about the DSA (and the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency), one of the issues FTA raised was the way in which Driver CPC data has been stored.
"Unfortunately, because there is no provision in the current Driver CPC database for separating out passenger and hgv drivers, it is impossible to know the extent of the problem; with the passenger deadline now only 24 months away, it is likely that the spike is largely due to the PSV sector picking up the pace.
"Current intelligence suggests that a number of qualified hgv drivers will be well short of the 35 hours mark approaching the 2014 deadline. What this will almost certainly mean for those who haven’t yet begun the process is a lack of choice, especially when it comes to finding good value, quality training."