Freight Transport Association (FTA) has responded to a consultation from the European Commission on the future of Driver CPC urging Brussels to recognise that the freight transport industry is best placed to identify driver training – not politicians.
Within its submitted response today (Friday 25 October) to the Commission consultation on the Driver Training Directive, the FTA emphasised that driver training requirements should be freight industry led, and the Association acknowledged the need for Driver CPC to be improved.
However, many operators are using it to deliver effective, professional training. FTA stated that adding additional constraints could hinder responsible, professional vehicle operators from training drivers in the knowledge and skills they need to do their job effectively.
James Firth, FTA’s Head of Road Freight and Enforcement Policy said: "FTA is mindful that driver training must be right for the individual driver and their requirements. We realise that this may not be an easy problem to solve, but do not believe that the answer should be ‘one-size-fits-all’, as it usually becomes ‘one-size-fits nobody very well’.
"If the specific training content is defined by politicians – either in Brussels or Westminster – we run the risk of every driver investing time and money on redundant training. For instance, a driver in the retail sector should not be forcibly required to be trained in loading and securing aggregates. There is certainly a challenge still in engaging drivers fully with DCPC, but insisting upon irrelevant training is a sure-fire way to alienate them further”.
FTA stated that it considered the EC consultation document to be wide-ranging.
Firth commented: "It is understood that the Commission has no agenda in this exercise, it is more of a fact finding mission. There is, however a clear theme running through the document – harmonisation. Whether it is in training quality, accreditation process or specific training content, the Commission is testing the water for taking more direct control over how we train our drivers”.
FTA had previously responded to the Driving Standards Agency’s consultation on the Driver Training Directive at the beginning of October, 2013. It submitted a list of items under domestic control which included improved availability of course content for employers and potential employers; closer tie-ins with driver licensing; and improvements in targeting of audits.
European Directive 2003/59/EC requires the initial and continuous training of vocational drivers and is referred to as a Driver CPC. The qualification applies to new drivers acquiring a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) licence from 10 September 2008 and for drivers acquiring a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) licence from 10 September 2009. Those already holding a vocational licence on these dates were given acquired rights in relation to the initial qualification, however all drivers must complete 35 hours of periodic training every five years.