Despite the news from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) that drivers are generally complying with the legal requirements of Driver CPC, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has repeated its message to both drivers and operators that complacency is not an option if they wish to avoid heavy fines and licence suspension.
The DVSA reports that where its roadside enforcement officers find failings, they are taking action. Between April and October 2013 - a period which was mostly before the deadline for PSV drivers with acquired rights had passed - 35 fixed penalties were issued for Driver CPC offences. The Agency has also indicated that it has taken drivers and operators to court for non-compliance and at least one operator has been handed down the maximum £1,000 fine for causing or permitting a driver to go on the road without a valid qualification on several occasions.
Commenting, James Firth, FTA’s Head of Road Freight and Enforcement Policy said:
“If you’re still thinking the Driver CPC might go away, think again. The message is clear – the 10 September 2014 deadline will happen, VOSA is already enforcing it, and failure to comply could see you landed with a £1,000 fine and your licence suspended. What the DVSA is telling us suggests that anyone thinking of taking the risk will be pretty much on their own out there.”
Mr Firth added:
“We still hear suggestions that some HGV drivers and operators are waiting to see if action is being taken against PSV drivers who are not complying with the requirements of Driver CPC. If you haven’t heard anything, it’s probably because most people are complying. DVSA has told us that at the roadside the general picture is one of compliance.”
No specific enforcement campaigns against Driver CPC are being undertaken, but every single driver stopped is checked to see if they are satisfying the training requirements. In 2011/12 VOSA stopped over 110,000 drivers to check their compliance with drivers’ hours rules and in the future these checks by the newly merged Agency will include compliance with Driver CPC, as they have done for some time.
As well as facing financial penalties, drivers and operators failing to comply with the law could find themselves in front of a Traffic Commissioner. The Commissioners have powers to suspend vocational driving licences and take action against an operator’s licence.