Examining the Driver CPC Requirement

06 January 2022
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What is the Driver CPC requirement?

The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification is a legal requirement for professional drivers. Its purpose is to ensure that every driver behind the wheel of an HGV has been trained to the same government standards and are up-to-date with all health, safety and legal requirements. The CPC requirement aims to keep unsafe drivers off the road, therefore helping to reduce death and injuries for drivers and the wider public.

The Driver CPC needs to be renewed every 5 years when drivers will then have to attend compulsory 35 hours of classroom training. Drivers who do not complete this training cannot legally drive for commercial gain which may have contributed to pressure on driver supply. Those that drive professionally without their CPC qualification can be fined up to £1,000, so it’s important that every HGV driver has this essential training.

Why the CPC requirement is important

In 2020, there were over 3,300 road accidents involving an HGV. Although this is far lower than accidents involving a car, HGV collisions often result in serious or fatal injury and tend to significantly impact other road users as well as the HGV driver. The CPC requirement is therefore important as it aims to improve road safety for all by extensively training HGV drivers.

Not only can HGV collisions be fatal for other road users, but they can also have a wider impact and negatively affect your business. Frequent road accidents can create a damaging company reputation. If your company becomes known for having “bad drivers” then it’s likely that you will lose business in the future.

Reducing road accidents by undertaking the CPC training is also important as it reduces the frequency of late deliveries. By teaching HGV drivers how to be safer on the roads, there will be fewer accidents that can be costly in both money and time. This allows HGV drivers to efficiently get to their destination without any mishaps. The CPC training will also prevent damage to vehicles and stock, so employers will not be constantly paying out for vehicle repairs that have occurred as a result of an accident.

Benefits of CPC for drivers and employers

The CPC requirement can benefit both drivers and employers significantly as it improves road safety and reduces fuel consumption. This also benefits those most at risk on the roads and will help to reduce the carbon footprint of vehicles. It has been reported that the fuel consumption of the UK can be reduced by as much as 9.5% when drivers have the best qualifications and training. This positive impact on the environment will benefit everyone in the long run.

Drivers:

  • During the training for the CPC requirement, drivers will be educated about fatigue and stress, so that they can be more alert on long journeys.
  • The training will help to make drivers safer, reducing costly accidents.
  • By having this qualification, drivers have an increased number of career opportunities within the transport or haulage industry.

Employers

  • The CPC requirement offers reassurance to employers that their drivers have been fully trained to a high standard.
  • Employers can benefit as their drivers are taught how to drive more efficiently which will reduce fuel consumption and lower running costs.
  • As drivers are taught to be safer on the roads, the risk of accidents is reduced. This will benefit employers as their company reputation will remain intact and there will be fewer late deliveries caused by accidents.

Concerns about the CPC requirement

Although the CPC requirement has clear benefits for drivers and employers, there are growing concerns that it’s no longer a feasible undertaking for businesses.

At the time of writing the CPC training costs on average £40-£90 per 7 hours of training. This cost can make it inaccessible for individuals with limited budgets or for businesses with a high number of drivers to pay for. Investing in drivers can also be costly for employers if the drivers do not remain at the company long-term. A further concern is that some drivers are left to pay for the training themselves and are not paid whilst attending their training course, causing further financial strain. This could put off many drivers who have left the profession from returning which could perhaps contribute to the driver shortage issues that have been experienced in the UK over the last year.

In addition, the training needed for the CPC qualification is time-consuming and this can deter people from becoming HGV drivers. In order to complete the 35 hours of training, the start date of drivers is delayed which has resulted in a shortage of drivers when they were needed most.

Concerns about the cost and the time element of the CPC requirement has led to questions about whether it should be scrapped.  It has been reported that some older drivers would choose to retire rather than spend money on CPC training and so many businesses are struggling to fill driver positions.

In a recent social media poll by HGV World, 83% of people stated that the CPC requirement should be scrapped to help with the driver shortage. However, it seems unlikely that this will happen in the near future as the benefits arguably outweigh the concerns.

The future of the CPC requirement

So, with the growing concerns that the CPC requirement has contributed to the driver shortage, what does the future hold?

The Government recently announced a review of the training for HGV drivers. This will look at how the process can be updated to reduce the burden on drivers, thus making the profession more accessible. As a result of this review, the testing process has been streamlined with the number of weekly HGV tests available being increased by 90%. To help aid the driver shortage further, it has also been announced that there will be training for up to 5,000 new drivers through skills bootcamps.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We understand it’s vital for drivers to remain fully qualified – but we’re looking to ensure they can do so in the most efficient way possible whilst maintaining road safety standards.”

Although the CPC requirement is not going to be scrapped, the Government are making changes so that it’s more affordable and accessible for drivers. This will ensure that more drivers are properly trained to drive safely and will hopefully ease some of the concerns about this qualification.