With the deadline for completion of Driver CPC (DCPC) training exactly two years away, the Freight Transport Association says that promising progress is being reported by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). But leaving DCPC training to the last minute seems to be the biggest risk as businesses defer any spending as long as possible in the face of the continuing recession.
DSA figures show that there is a growing number of active drivers undertaking DCPC training, but the same figures also suggest there is a long way to go to ensure that every licensed driver will be in possession of a current Driver Qualification Card in time for the 10 September 2014 deadline.
According to statistics obtained by FTA, at the end of July there were 2,980 approved courses and 1,195 approved centres, delivering training for those 528,000 drivers who have made a start, but reports show that to date there still remains a shortfall of 1.3 million days plus an unknown number of drivers who have not yet started the training at all, so it seems that some freight operators still have a lot of work to do.
Progress has been aided by helpful confirmations about enforcement made by ministers and licensing authorities, and training providers are developing useful innovations to spread the cost and inconvenience of getting drivers through 35 hours of approved training before the deadline.
James Firth, FTA’s Head of Road Freight and Enforcement Policy, who is responsible for working with DSA on this issue said:
"The next two years will be a crucial test for the road freight industry. The message to operators is that if they have not yet started to get their drivers trained, they can still do so in time – but they need to start now. The worst outcome would be a rush for training in the spring and summer of 2014 as reluctant operators panic ahead of the deadline. Spaces on training courses will be at a premium, with some providers already saying they have every weekend until the deadline fully booked.
"The Traffic Commissioners have assured the industry that they will take action against drivers found driving without a complete DCPC after the deadline and also against operators who allow drivers to drive without a complete DCPC. Although the legal obligation to complete DCPC does rest solely with the driver, Traffic Commissioners also appear to be taking a dim view of operators they meet at public inquiry that appear to take no interest in the professional development of their drivers.
"Having successfully argued for a flexible regulation that gave plenty of time for existing drivers to acquire the necessary training, it is the responsibility of operators to step up and commit to good quality training that delivers a real improvement in driver awareness and knowledge."
For details of FTA Driver CPC training go to www.fta.co.uk/training, or contact June Powell, General Manager – Training, at email@example.com