Driver CPC raises the bar on driving as a professional career
The image of truckers as ‘out-of-condition and out-of-touch’ is part of a motoring folklore bent out of shape by popular stereotypes that only serve to starve the industry of the next generation of drivers, argues Eddie Parker, head of LCVs at Masterlease.
Mr Parker said he welcomed the new European Union-led Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) that could see the bar raised in terms of younger, more qualified ‘career-drivers’ taking over the hot seat from an ageing driver population and set a consistent European benchmark - providing it is stringently enforced across the EU.
From this month, new bus and coach drivers will have to undergo 35 hours of additional training on top of their PCV licence before they can sit in the driving seat. For HGV drivers from haulage and logistics companies, the same requirement comes into force in September 2009 with training covering safety, practical driving, loading and even customer service.
For existing drivers, the CPC requires that they undertake their 35 additional hours of training by 2013 for bus and coach drivers and 2014 for hauliers. This requirement is then on-going for the rest of their professional careers to keep them up to speed on driver regulations.
“There may be a general attitude that: ‘I have been driving for 30 years and I’m not going to listen to what the EU tells me that I can and can’t do.’ But they have to be able to demonstrate that they have undertaken the training if they want to have a job,” said Mr Parker.
“Providing it is correctly and consistently enforced across the EU, it will be a good thing because it will demonstrate that driving is a long-term strategic skill, a view already held in parts of Europe, although in other regions there is a perception that corners are for cutting to keep costs competitive.”
Meanwhile, the European Union and national Governments are considering amendingdriver’s hours regulations and bringing lower weight vehicles into scope which could potentially bring the LCV market into line with the new training.
“I know that the EU is seriously looking at this option which would have a dramatic impact upon the van car parc and could see an end to White Van Man and put drivers in the category of ‘knights of the road’ rather than ‘nuts on the road’,” he added.