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FTA members are Driver CPC compliant – but driver shortage is a real concern

Wednesday the 10th September 2014 marked the Driver CPC deadline – and the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is congratulating its members who have ensured their drivers are compliant with the new obligations and have recognised the importance of continued professionalism and training.

Despite the time frame allowed for all to complete the training, DVSA figures released last month revealed that the vast majority of drivers will have completed their 35 hours’ periodic training by the deadline, but still suggest that for some the dash to compliance will continue right up to today’s deadline, and even beyond.

FTA’s Head of Road Freight and Enforcement Policy – James Firth commented:
“The logistics industry is not going to grind to a halt today as some have suggested – the figures indicate that most drivers will have got it done. But the deadline highlights a more fundamental problem of driver supply in the future. The cost of getting your HGV licence, the cost to companies of insuring young drivers, the lack of facilities for drivers on the road network and a generally negative image of the profession are all barriers to young people recognising the logistics industry for what it really is: a challenging and rewarding sector, which uses cutting edge technology to solve problems on a daily basis to keep the economic heartbeat of the UK strong and uninterrupted.”

But FTA is also voicing its concerns over the readiness of some agency drivers, which industry usually calls upon to handle the Christmas peak, and furthermore the driver supply in the future. Normally fleet managers would look to their employment agencies to supply temporary drivers to meet their peak demand periods, but surveys of agency driver availability suggest that there may not be the numbers of qualified drivers to meet the peak demand.

Mr Firth continued:
“The next few weeks will be a critical period in the road freight sector for government, enforcement agencies and the wider economy. A combination of the fast-recovering economy, the Driver CPC deadline, a shortage of qualified agency drivers and a series of administrative changes to driver licensing arrangements are creating the ‘perfect storm’ for fleet manager and piling pressure on scheduling plans for the Christmas peak period.”

FTA has also expressed frustration that administrative fixes and clarifications – that it is has longed called for – have only been issued by DVSA in the past week which have created confusion in the last critical days prior to the DCPC deadline.

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) regulations came into force for new HGV drivers in 2009 when vocational drivers were required to complete 35 hours of periodic training every five years. Existing vocational drivers at that time were granted until today to undergo the same training. Driving without the qualification carries a maximum fine of £1,000 – for both the driver and operator licence holders.

FTA has been a leading provider of quality training to its members and will continue to identify the most practical, efficient and cost effective way to manage Driver CPC programmes in the future, providing training solutions to suit individual business requirements and driver training needs. For more information go to: www.fta.co.uk/services/training

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