A series of changes to the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification for truck drivers is on the cards after the Government invited interested parties to give their views on what should be altered.
Having considered the views of 1,100 responses, the Government has decided that the Driver CPC will benefit from reforms to increase flexibility when renewing and regaining the qualification.
It says it will consult further on introducing a new periodic test as an alternative to 35 hours of training for drivers looking to renew their Driver CPC. This, says the Government, would also be available for drivers looking to return to the sector and will form an accelerated pathway for them.
It has also announced that it will reform training by reducing the minimum course length from seven hours to 3.5 hours and decouple e-learning from trainer-led courses. Furthermore, it will develop, with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), more core course content and encourage informal assessment at the end of modules.
Changes will be brought into force through secondary legislation using powers within the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act.
The intention is to bring forward this secondary legislation in the summer, but this will not include the introduction of the new periodic test.
Proposals for this will be brought into force at a later date, which could be via secondary legislation or further to a slot in an appropriate bill and will be the subject of further consultation, said the DfT.
The Driver CPC, which was introduced in 2007, is a qualification that professional drivers of goods or passenger carrying vehicles over 3.5 tonnes gvw are required to hold in addition to their driving licence.
In the UK, except in the case where a driver had ‘acquired rights’, it is initially obtained by completing four test modules consisting of a two-part theory test, case studies, a practical driving test and a practical demonstration of vehicle operation.
It is then renewed by completing 35 hours of periodic training every five years. Completing 35 hours of training allows a driver to drive for commercial purposes for five years.
The main objectives of DCPC, when introduced, were to improve road safety and the safety of the driver, including during operations carried out by the driver while the vehicle is stopped and to raise the professional recognition of drivers, thereby attracting greater interest in the profession and increasing the number of drivers.
As a result of the acute driver shortages in 2021, the Government announced a policy review into the Driver CPC in November 2021.
The review sought to assess how the qualification could be reformed to reduce the burden on drivers and ensure it did not act as a barrier to working in the sector.
The outcome of this review, published last March, proposed ways in which the qualification could be reformed, which were put to public consultation.
Publishing the results of that consultation, it found that a third (33%) of respondents reported that the Driver CPC was either effective or very effective at improving road safety, compared to 38% of respondents saying it was either ineffective or very ineffective.