Win, win with Driver CPC training

With the second Driver CPC cycle now half way through, high quality periodic training still has the potential to deliver big benefits to professional logistics operations. Here, we review some recent developments in this area.

The 2016 list of most common offences committed by HGV drivers and operators was released by the Driving & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) earlier this year. Topping the top ten most common offences were drivers’ hours. In fact these – over 1500 separate breaches – represented 46% of the total. Most resulted in a conviction and fine. The average cost of a fine was £119.

Whether all these cases were the result of deliberately flouting the law or simply a mistake/misinterpretation of the rules by the driver isn’t revealed. But whatever the reality behind these figures it does, perhaps, suggest that some revision by drivers and their transport manager bosses wouldn’t go amiss.

For any responsible operator or driver, Driver CPC provides the perfect way to address this need. “It’s a classic win-win,” says John Keelan-Edwards, from Driver Hire Training, one of the UK’s leading nationwide providers of periodic training.

“We’ve delivered over 120,000 driver training days and 12,500 courses. Within that number, drivers’ hours and tachograph rules are still our most popular courses. Customers can meet their legal obligations and maintain high compliance standards in one move.”

“With a range of eighteen modules, variety has always been key to our training offering” John continues. These include topics such as Drivers’ Hours, Road Traffic Laws, and Digital Tachograph, through to Emergency First AidManual Handling and Fuel Efficient Driving. Most recently we have introduced a FORS-approved course on Safe Urban Driving.”

Debate around Driver CPC seems to have moved on from “Why bother?” to ways of making an accepted industry requirement the best it can be. Whatever Brexit may bring in the longer term, the Government has made it clear that there will be no immediate change to Driver CPC. It is here to stay, and it’s important that all drivers and operators stay fully on track with their training to avoid the last minute rush that many experienced in 2014.

Nevertheless there has been talk lately of EU proposals to prevent drivers from taking the same Driver CPC course more than once. This might address a perceived weakness of the current system but in fact, as discussed above, revision has a valuable role to play in keeping the UK’s roads safe.

“We all learn and re-learn,” says John Keelan-Edwards. “One of the most frequent comments we read on our post-course feedback sheets is drivers saying that they hadn’t realised how much they’d forgotten until they attended our course. This doesn’t necessarily make them bad drivers, it’s just that attending a Driver CPC course has helped make them a better one. Perhaps a pragmatic response would be to allow driver ‘re-sits’ but only after a certain time period has elapsed – say a minimum of two years.”

Also in the news recently has been a somewhat worrying rise in the numbers of deaths and serious injuries on UK roads. Compiled by the Department for Transport (DfT), the figures, for the year ended September 2016, show a 6% year-on-year increase compared to 2015. Within these figures, the statistics on children killed or seriously injured are especially disturbing – they show an alarming increase of 22%. There was also a 10% increase in deaths and injuries to passengers. Vulnerable road-users aren’t faring well either; there was a 5% increase in motorcyclists killed or seriously injured and a 2% increase for cyclists.

The industry is already well aware – and taking steps to address the issue. A number of major players are looking at education and improved lorry design, for example. Again, good quality training can play a valuable role, and most Driver CPC training providers include elements of road safety in some or all of their courses.

John concludes, “Our view is that whether you’re looking at basic industry knowledge of drivers’ hours and tachographs, the Highway Code or more nuanced professional skills such as fuel efficient driving or safe loading and unloading, Driver CPC has a key part to play in the professional development of drivers. We believe that high quality, relevant Driver CPC training is good for drivers and good for the industry. Give people an interesting and well-presented day’s training and they’ll respond accordingly.”

So make the most of your seven hours training. If it saves you the cost of a fine or, more dramatically, someone’s life, Driver CPC remains a very worthwhile investment.

You can find out more on Driver CPC training from Driver Hire here