Friday, 17 October 2014

Doubts Expressed About Driver's CPC

Following an investigation by the Transport Select Committee here doubts are being expressed by MP's about the effectiveness of the Driver's CPC.

Currently all new professional PCV &HGV drivers must pass an initial qualification, and all existing professional PCV & HGV drivers must take periodic training on a five-yearly cycle. 

 Most of the major bus companies carry out in house
training for the Driver's CPC
The requirements to pass an initial qualification were introduced on 10 September 2009 and existing drivers will now have to have undertaken the first round of training. Several witnesses doubted the Driver CPC was delivering the benefits expected of it. Beverley Bell, Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain, told us that the quality of training of a "small percentage" of companies was poor and failed to engage drivers.[41] Leon Daniels, from TFL, told us
    I could have got my driver CPC by going to the same course in the same office on five consecutive days and sitting through the same syllabus […] It is entirely inappropriate that there is a shortcut that allows people to get their driver CPC in that way.[42]
19. Adrian Jones, National Officer for Road Transport, Commercial, Logistics and Retail Distribution, Unite the Union, made the same point in his evidence and added this was of "no benefit to the driver, the employer or the industry".[43] He also said the training was sometimes little more than attendance at an event and little engagement in the content of the course was required.[44] TfL called for greater transparency so that transport managers could view the modules taken by each of their drivers. They argued that this would encourage drivers to make less arbitrary choices on which training modules to take, while also increasing professionalism in the industry. 

They said the Safe Urban Driving course—a TfL-developed course aimed at drivers operating in or passing through London and intended to lower the risk to vulnerable road users, including cyclists—should be mandatory.[45] In our inquiry on cycling safety, British Cycling called for cycle awareness training to be made a mandatory part of the CPC.[46]
20. The then Minister told us he was aware of the concerns that the CPC might allow a repetition of the same training every year but argued that responsible companies would understand the need to ensure their drivers maintained their professional competence. He said the Department was in the process of reviewing the CPC regulations; this included whether there should be a safety element within the driver CPC.[47]
21. If businesses and drivers must commit time and resource to mandatory training then that training must be worthwhile and effective. At the present time this is not the case. We welcomed the proposals made by the Government in November 2013 when it reported to the European Commission on the effectiveness of the CPC and called for more flexibility and for the training to take account of other road users, particularly cyclists.[48] But under the current regulations the Government could not add modules on vulnerable road users to the Driver CPC or compel drivers to select them. If the Government unilaterally amended regulations to make such modules compulsory drivers from other countries using roads in the UK would not have equivalent training. For that reason, we recommend that the Government lobby the European Commission to introduce an amending Directive to require the inclusion of a compulsory new training module in the Driver CPC focused on vulnerable road users.