Roads Minister, Stephen Hammond MP, has finally made technicians exempt from the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) training, which is a compulsory, continuous programme for drivers of HGVs and buses.
The Roads Minister said that driver training is still vitally important for truck and bus drivers to ensure their skills up to scratch.
Hammond added, “Making the training compulsory for those who only drive HGVs over short distances – because they are delivering them for repair or testing – is costly and time-consuming. That is why we are making these exemptions which will reduce costs and administration for businesses.”
The welcoming sentiment was echoed by the Freight Transport Association (FTA), “A bit late but the right decision in the end,” commented James Firth, Head of Road Freight and Enforcement Policy at FTA.
“At last a common sense decision by the government. We have been calling for this exemption to be introduced. Professional truck drivers have to work within a plethora of rules aimed at improving road safety, and it’s right that those driving for a living every day have access to continuous refresher training. But a mechanic who only ever drives HGVs on a public road to test them or take them for their statutory annual test, should not need to take the same refresher training as a professional full time lorry driver.”
However, the decision has not got everyone on side, as the smarter travel choices charity Sustrans believes that more training is required for drivers not less.
Sustrans Policy Director Jason Torrance, retorts, “This is a reckless decision that puts more vulnerable road users at risk of death and serious injury. Driver training needs to be improved and increased, not relaxed or abolished.
“Driver CPC training is a crucial element to keeping our roads safe, yet Mr Hammond seems to be suggesting that the distance or purpose of the trip alters the risk to other road users.”