A sweeping review will seek to improve compulsory ongoing training for HGV drivers in the latest of 30 measures to support the road haulage sector and encourage more people to return to the profession.
Drivers currently need to undergo five days of periodic training every five years to ensure they remain fully qualified to drive heavy goods vehicles professionally and up to date with road safety standards.
While its aim is to keep standards high, some drivers are left to pay for the training themselves and are not paid whilst attending their training course. Feedback from industry suggests this puts off many drivers who have left the profession from returning.
The review will look at how the process can be updated to reduce the burden on drivers – both returning and new – and ensure it doesn’t act as a barrier to working in the sector.
”We’re listening to industry leaders who have told us about the issues HGV drivers face with CPC arrangements,” said Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps. “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.”
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 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 hauliers and further safeguard driver wellbeing, comfort and safety.
Director of Policy at Logistics UK, Elizabeth De Jong said: “The measures announced on 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.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) also welcomed the review of the Driver CPC. In a press release the organisation said that it had called on the government to reform Driver CPC for months. “We are delighted that government has listened and heeded our advice by announcing a review into the qualification,” the announcement said. “The RHA has long campaigned for urgent reforms, including an extension to the validity of Driver CPCs expiring this year and help retain drivers who may otherwise be tempted to retire or find alternative work. The RHA also proposes a ‘one for one’ Driver CPC, meaning that a driver should be allowed to extend or renew a Driver CPC entitlement for one additional year if they undertake one Driver CPC training module. RHA looks forward to engaging with the review to ensure these much-needed reforms are introduced, removing the barriers for drivers joining the industry, whilst maintaining safety standards.”
The RHA also welcomed the upgrading of lorry park facilities which, it said, will be vital in improving driver wellbeing and encouraging more people to join the sector.