- 1 October 2021
- Transport / Logistics Services
Caroline Green, CEO of UK logistics giant Pallet-Track has called on the government to suspend the Driver Certificate of Professional Competency (DCPC) to allow experienced HGV drivers to get back on the road more quickly.
The DCPC is additional to driver skills training and has to be passed on top of the HGV driving test to allow HGV drivers to take the wheel.
Green said: “The government has committed to write to a million HGV license holders to thank them for their vital service as well as to encourage as many lapsed drivers as possible to return to the sector and announced 4,000 people will be trained and tested at bootcamps to help address the driver shortfall.
“We had a driver shortage crisis before Brexit and Covid and last year saw 30,000 HGV driving tests cancelled on top of 14,000 drivers who’ve returned to the EU. The average age of an HGV driver is 55 and 10,000 drivers retire each year as well as 20,000 others who are quitting sector for various reasons.”
Green said that it is now too late to address the driver shortages ahead of the Christmas peak season but Easter could be a realistic target if the government listens to the industry and acts now.
“It is positive that the government has announced 4,000 additional training and testing opportunities but with the lead times we’re seeing at the DVLA to return licences combined with training and testing capacity, that initiative cannot bear fruit before next year,” added Caroline.
“There are safety question marks over the government’s approach here, but a moratorium on the EU’s Driver CPC directive would be a safe and quick-fire route to get our experienced, but lapsed, drivers back behind the wheel. It was an EU regulation that was responsible for an exodus of drivers in the first place when it was introduced in 2009.
“Given that we can’t rapidly get new drivers on the road, a moratorium would give the government time to consult with the industry on formulating training that will command the respect of both drivers and management, unlike the current arrangement.”
Caroline said current CPC training was widely believed to add little value and to add nothing towards demonstrating competency.