THE ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF ACCIDENTS RoSPA RESPONSE TO THE DRIVING STANDARDS AGENCY CONSULTATION PAPER

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1 RoSPA RESPONSE TO THE DRIVING STANDARDS AGENCY CONSULTATION PAPER DRIVER CERTIFICATE OF PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE 8 FEBRUARY 2006

2 DRIVER CERTIFICATE OF PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE This is the response of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to the Driving Standards Agency s consultation paper, Driver Certificate of Professional Competence. It has been prepared in consultation with RoSPA s National Road Safety Committee. Introduction European Union Directive 2003/59/EC requires professional drivers of lorries of all sizes, buses, coaches and minibuses (categories C, C+E, C1, C1+E, D, D+E, D1, or D1+E) to hold a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) as well as a valid driving licence for the category of vehicle they are driving. The Directive sets out arrangements for the compulsory Initial Qualification and Periodic Training of new and existing professional lorry and bus drivers. It also imposes (where the training is subject to EU rules) arrangements to approve training programmes and to certify the training providers delivering those programmes. The objective of the Directive is to improve road safety, to improve the professionalism and the quality of service offered by professional drivers and to facilitate the free movement of workers. In addition, the EC hopes it will encourage more drivers into the road haulage and passenger transport industries. The Directive must be adopted by the UK. The DVLA estimates that are some 1.6m vocational licence holders in Britain, including around 433,000 professional LGV drivers and around 166,000 professional PCV drivers. This implies that there are about 900,000 people who hold vocational licences but do not use them. The road freight and passenger transport industries report difficulties in retention and recruitment of drivers and estimate that there is a shortfall of 46,000 and 5,000 drivers respectively. At present, the training that an LGV or PCV driver must undertake to gain their professional driving licence or for continuing professional development is not regulated. LGV or PCV driving instructors are also unregulated, except for the requirement that they be aged at least 21 years and have held a full driving licence for the relevant class of vehicle for at least 3 years. When implemented, the Directive will introduce new provisions for professional driver training and set minimum driving ages for professional drivers linked to minimum ages for awarding CPCs. RoSPA supports both the Directive and its adoption into UK legislation as we believe that it will improve the initial training of professional lorry and bus drivers and will ensure periodic refresher training, which RoSPA believes is an important principle that should be adopted by all drivers. The Directive will also ensure that those individuals and organisations that train professional drivers do so to an approved standard and quality. 1

3 to Specific Questions in the Consultation Paper CHAPTER 4 SCOPE AND EXEMPTIONS Scope The requirements imposed by the Directive apply to all professional drivers employed in road transport within the European Community (EC) and nationals of countries outside of the Member States of the EC who are employed or used by an organisation within it. EU driving licence legislation permits, in certain circumstances, a person to drive vehicles in these categories without holding a vocational driving licence (e.g., a voluntary minibus driver.) In such circumstances, this Directive does not apply the CPC rules to the driver. Penalties for non-compliance with the CPC rules will attract similar penalties to those currently in force for driving/encouraging driving without an appropriate driving licence. RoSPA agrees that the scope of the Directive is appropriate and should be adopted into UK law. We agree that it would not be practical for the Certificate of professional Competence (CPC) requirements to apply to drivers who are not required to hold a vocational driving licence. However, there are separate concerns about this which need to be addressed elsewhere (e.g., the poor definition of voluntary minibus driver ). RoSPA agrees that the proposed penalties for non-compliance are appropriate. Exemptions The Directive specifies certain circumstances where a person is exempted from the CPC requirement regardless of the need to hold a vocational driving licence to drive that vehicle: (a) vehicles with a maximum authorised speed not exceeding 45 km/h (does not apply to vehicles where the speed has been limited by a speed limiting device.) (b) vehicles used by, or under the control of, the armed forces, civil defence, the fire service and forces responsible for maintaining public order. (c) vehicles undergoing road tests for technical development, repair or maintenance purposes, or of new or rebuilt vehicles which have not yet been put into service. (d) vehicles used in states of emergency or assigned to rescue missions. (e) vehicles used in the course of driving lessons for any person wishing to obtain a driving licence or a CPC. (f) vehicles used for non-commercial carriage of passengers or goods, for personal use. (g) vehicles carrying material or equipment to be used by the driver in the course of his or her work, provided that driving the vehicle is not the driver 's principal activity. RoSPA is concerned at the scope of these exemptions which appear to be very wide ranging. They may be used as a loophole to avoid the requirements of the Directive, and risk reducing the effectiveness and benefits of the Directive. 2

4 Acquired Rights The Directive allows Acquired Rights (sometimes called grandfather rights ) for drivers holding full vocational driving licences on the date on which the Initial Qualification requirements are introduced. This means that: A driver holding a full vocational licence to drive a passenger-carrying vehicle on 9 September 2008 will not have to undertake an Initial Qualification to obtain a CPC to drive a passenger-carrying vehicle. A driver holding a full vocational licence to drive a goods vehicle on 9 September 2009 will not have to undertake an Initial Qualification to obtain a CPC to drive a goods vehicle. However, such drivers will have to undertake Periodic Training in order to keep their acquired CPC valid. RoSPA supports the proposal to adopt the Acquired Rights for existing professional drivers, but to require them to undergo periodic refresher training. CHAPTER 5. INITIAL QUALIFICATION The Directive requires Member States to adopt one of two Options for obtaining an Initial Qualification. Both Options have a common syllabus and the same standard of competence must be achieved. Option 1 imposes requirements for both the initial training and the test that must be passed before an initial CPC is awarded. It would require trainees to take a training course of at least 280 hours (8 weeks) duration, covering the required syllabus and delivered by approved instructors at an approved training centre. The course would include at least 20 hours supervised driving in a relevant vehicle. The Test would comprise a Theory and Practical Driving test. Option 2 imposes requirements for the theory and practical tests that must be passed before an initial CPC is awarded. This option would not specify the type of training course trainees must complete but would focus on an effective test to ensure they had reached the required standard. The test would comprise a 4 hour Theory Test and a 2 hour practical Driving Test. The government proposes to adopt Option 2. Both Options require the same syllabus and drivers must achieve the same standard RoSPA is attracted to Option 1 because it sets a comprehensive and standardised training course that all trainees must undertake. However, we recognise that it would impose significant new costs on the trainees and the industries involved. As drivers do not need to hold a full driving licence before undertaking the initial qualification, and it is estimated that there is an 80% overlap between the syllabus for CPC acquisition and the syllabus for driving licence acquisition, we agree that many drivers will want to undertake the Initial CPC Qualification in parallel with acquiring their lorry or bus driving licence. Therefore, we support arrangements that enable drivers to integrate training and testing for driving licence acquisition and CPC Initial Qualification. RoSPA would support Option 2. Clearly the tests will need to be rigorously designed to ensure that those who do not take sufficient training are unlikely to pass. 3

5 Chapter 6 National Vocational Training The Directive allows a Member State to introduce arrangements permitting a driver to work for up to 3 years before obtaining a CPC, where the driver is undertaking a National Vocational Training (NVT) course that has a minimum duration of 6 months. In line with its policy of encouraging lifelong learning and participation in aspirational vocational qualifications, the Government proposes to implement an NVT arrangement so that drivers undertaking suitable vocational qualifications recognised by QCA or SQA could work whilst preparing for their CPC Initial Qualification? Given that a person would need to have acquired their lorry or bus driving licence by passing the appropriate Driving Test before starting work as a professional driver, RoSPA supports this proposal provided that the conditions specified in the Consultation Paper are implemented, namely: the NVT course must be substantial - minimum duration of at least 6 months the CPC exemption may last no longer than 3 years. the person may drive only within the UK. We recommend that monitoring procedures are put in place to assess whether this facility is simply used by drivers to allow them to work (for 3 years) without attempting to get the initial CPC qualification. CHAPTER 7. ACCELERATED INITIAL TRAINING The Directive allows Member States to introduce an Accelerated Initial Training scheme. This is a variation to Option 1 of the Initial Qualification (see above) but with a minimum of 140 rather than 280 training hours, and a minimum of 10 hours, rather than 20 hours driving. However, there would be restrictions on the size of vehicle they could drive and the type of work they could undertake. The scheme would not be available to younger drivers in certain circumstances and cannot be linked with the NVT provision. RoSPA agrees that Accelerated Initial Training offers little value if Option 2 for the acquisition of the Initial CPC Qualification is adopted. 4

6 CHAPTER 8. PERIODIC TRAINING In order for drivers to retain a valid CPC, the Directive requires that they undertake 35 hours of Periodic Training: within 5 years of obtaining their CPC following Initial Qualification within 5 years of the implementation date for drivers who were exempted from the Initial Qualification under the Acquired Rights provisions within every subsequent 5 yearly CPC re-certification period. Periodic training must be for a total of at least 35 hours every 5 years, in periods of at least 7 hours. Training does not have to be taken with one organisation, and if a driver moves during the 5-year period the training already undertaken counts towards the 35 hour requirement. Drivers who have completed Periodic Training for driving goods vehicles are exempt from a requirement to undertake periodic retraining for driving passenger-carrying vehicles (and vice versa). Administrative arrangements will be needed to record the Periodic Training taken, so that a driver will have evidence that the training has taken place. Possibilities include a paper driver logbook, a CD logbook, and an e-portfolio, or a smartcard. RoSPA strongly supports this proposal. We believe that refresher training is an important principle for all drivers and helps to maintain and enhance their knowledge and skills. For professional drivers it will also provide an opportunity to learn about new regulations and procedures, vehicle upgrades and driving issues linked to road safety and a fuel-efficient driving style. CHAPTER 10. IMPLEMENTATION DATES The Directive obliges Member States to have Regulations and administrative systems in place by September 2006 to implement whichever Initial Qualification arrangement it has chosen no later than: September 2008 for new drivers of passenger-carrying vehicles September 2009 for new drivers of goods vehicles The Directive also obliges Member States to implement the CPC requirement (following Periodic Training) for Acquired Rights drivers no later than: September 2013 for drivers of passenger-carrying vehicles September 2014 for drivers of goods vehicles though if a Member State elected to vary the 5-year period in order to assist with implementing the Directive those dates could be: September 2015 for drivers of passenger-carrying vehicles September 2016 for new drivers of goods vehicles The key question is how long will it take to develop and implement all the necessary arrangements to provide the training and testing procedures and staff, and the monitoring and quality assurance requirements. Implementation dates should be as soon as practically possible, with the emphasis on practicality. 5

7 CHAPTER 11. REGULATION OF TRAINING PROVISION Where the Directive requires training to be regulated, it also imposes an obligation on Member States to assure its standards. This means that a Member State is obliged to regulate Periodic Training arrangements according to the relevant provisions in section 5 of Annex 1 to the Directive. If a Member State chooses Option 1 for obtaining the Initial Qualification, it is obliged to regulate training for the Initial Qualification according to the provisions of section 5 of Annex 1 to the Directive. The burden and prescription in these provisions are much less if a Member State chooses Option 2 for obtaining the Initial Qualification. Regulated training will be monitored to ensure compliance with the conditions of approval. Where the conditions of approval are not met, the Member State is able to suspend or withdraw the approval. The consultation paper does not appear to specify how the Government proposes to regulate Periodic Training (apart form saying that flexibility is essential ), therefore, RoSPA is unable to comment. CHAPTER 12. EVIDENCING CPC STATUS The Directive requires Member States to provide drivers with tangible evidence of CPC status. Member States may enter a Community code on the driving licence, or on a separate Driver Qualification Card, both of which are produced to an equivalent security standard. The Directive requires mutual recognition of CPC status by all Member States. RoSPA agrees that the simplest method would be to insert a code on the driving licence, especially as it is very likely that the forthcoming Third EU Directive on driving licences will impose a five yearly renewal period on vocational licences. Separate arrangements will be needed for drivers holding non-uk driving licences but undertaking periodic training in UK and who will need to hold tangible evidence of CPC status. A driver Qualification Card would be appropriate. RoSPA thanks the Driving Standards Agency for the opportunity to comment on the proposals. We have no objections to the contents of our response being reproduced or attributed. 6

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