How commercial vehicle drivers accrue their 35 hours of periodic training is about to undergo a dramatic change.
Following a review by the EU Commission, it has been decided that the Driver CPC directive will now specify that ‘a range of different subjects should be covered over the 35 hours.’
This means that drivers can no longer repeat modules in the course of attaining their required 35 training hours over a rolling five-year period.
Going forward, DVSA and JAUPT will monitor training provider uploads and driver records; the purpose behind this is to identify training that does not comply with the above condition.
What this means in practice: if an operator and/or training provider is found to have allowed or encouraged repetitive training, they must provide suitable justification. What precisely is meant by ‘suitable justification’ has not yet been made clear.
However, the DVSA has made clear that there are no circumstances in which repeating the same course 5 times in a short space of time can be considered justifiable.
This means that training providers that are currently able to deliver only a small number of courses (less than 5), would do well to get new courses approved, so as to increase the variety of their material in accordance with the new requirements.
On this subject, the Traffic Commissioner’s office has released the following statement:
“Driver CPC training should either be varied or specifically tailored to a driver’s weaknesses. Taking the same courses repeatedly is not good enough. Failing to put structured development plans in place for drivers not only increases the risk of an incident occurring but would reflect very poorly on an operator if they were called before a Traffic Commissioner.”
DVSA has, however, acknowledged that there are situations in which repeating a course is unavoidable, and by extension, justifiable.
For years, Driver CPC’s detractors have cited the repeatability of courses as the primary flaw of the directive. With this dramatic shift, however, the purpose of the programme is almost redefined: a commercial vehicle driver must have an adequate knowledge of all the major aspects of safe, responsible, and efficient driving to remain compliant with the ever-evolving legislation, and it is an operator’s responsibility to ensure the drivers under their employ have been given the chance to develop a multifaceted understanding of the requirements of a career behind the wheel.
JAUPT will shortly publish the relevant FAQs on their website. When this happens, we will include a link in this article.