Major Review Into HGV Driver Training
The government has announced a major review into existing driver training for heavy goods vehicles
The review will look at ways to improve compulsory ongoing training for existing and returning HGV drivers and to identify sites for short term improvements to lorry parking. The government also will be looking at investing money to move additional lorry loads of freight over to railways.
This announcement has come as the DVLA has cleared over 40,000 HGV and vocational applications i n just 4 weeks.
The sweeping review will look to improve compulsory and ongoing training for HGV and PCV license holders. There are over 30 measures to support the road haulage industry to encourage even more people to return to the profession.
Currently drivers have to complete 5 days periodic training every 5 years in order to keep their license as a qualified heavy goods vehicle operator. this is to also keep drivers up to date with the very latest road safety standards. This training is an EU initiative called DCPC (Driver Certificates of Professional Competence.
One of the issues for DCPC has been that drivers are not paid during their training and the cost of the training is paid by the driver. This is said to put off drivers from attending and returning to the profession.
The government review will look at how this process can be updated to reduct the burden of cost on the driver to improve return of drivers to the sector.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
We’re listening to industry leaders who have told us about the issues HGV drivers face with CPC arrangements. Now we’ve taken back control of our own laws and regulations, I’m delighted to say we’re launching a review into these training rules.
We understand it’s vital for drivers to remain fully qualified – but we’re looking to ensure they can do so in the most efficient way possible whilst maintaining road safety standards. No driver should be out of pocket or out of work through no fault of their own.
This is the latest in a raft of 30 measures we’ve taken to support this vital sector and encourage drivers to return to the job or kickstart a new career in the industry. These measures are working – there is no backlog of HGV licence applications and we’re seeing over a thousand more people than normal apply for a licence each week.
In a further move to encourage more people back to the sector and attract new recruits, the government is working with key stakeholders to identify a number of lorry parks across the country where short-term facilities such as temporary toilets, showers and catering can be delivered in the coming months.
The government also emphasised the expectation that councils consider new proposals for these vital facilities constructively and has committed to review guidance that will assist this.
This follows the £32.5 million recently committed in the Chancellor’s budget to provide better facilities right across the country for HGV drivers, which will drive up standards of roadside parking and facilities for our hauliers and further safeguard driver wellbeing, comfort and safety.
£500,000 will also be added to the existing Mode Shift Revenue Support Fund for 2021 to 2022, in another boost to the country’s supply chains. This £20 million grant scheme provides funding to private-sector freight companies to encourage them to move more freight from the country’s roads to either the railways or inland waterways.
The additional funding equates to taking a significant 29,000 lorry loads of goods off the roads up until the end of March 2022 and will help to generate more environmentally friendly modes of transporting freight.
Director of Policy at Logistics UK Elizabeth De Jong said:
The measures announced today (8 November 2021) will support our members in their efforts to attract and retain new HGV drivers to the sector. Inadequate driver facilities across the roads network have led to a negative impression of our industry, creating a barrier to entry to our sector and are an issue that Logistics UK has been campaigning on for many years; we are pleased that the government has listened to our concerns and will move forward with a rapid programme of improvements.
Logistics UK and its members also welcome the review of Driver CPC, to ensure that continuous education for drivers is as effective as possible while upholding all necessary safety requirements. Meanwhile, the extra funding for the Mode Shift Revenue Support scheme will help industry to reach net zero emission targets while reducing road congestion.
Among other measures already taken to support the haulage industry, the testing process has been streamlined, the number of weekly HGV tests available has increased by 90% and training for up to 5,000 new drivers through skills bootcamps has been announced.
The DVLA has processed over 40,000 HGV and vocational licence applications in just 4 weeks, with applications that don’t require complex medicals being turned around in just 5 working days. DVSA is providing 1,350 more tests than normal a week at sites all over the country.
These measures are working. Not only are vocational licence applications being processed in normal 5-day turnaround times with no backlogs, over the past 3 weeks, we’ve seen around a 90% increase in the number of people requesting application packs for vocational licences each week.