The countdown to the cut off point for compliance with the 35 hours qualifying training is fast approaching; for drivers who hold a licence to drive a PCV, the date is 10 September this year and for those who hold a licence to drive a LGV, 10 September next year. No doubt as the deadlines approach there will be a scramble for places on available courses.
The European Directive which brought about the driver CPC was implemented into the UK in 2007 by the Vehicle Drivers (Certificates of Professional Competence) Regulations. These regulations included a limited number of exemptions from the requirement to undertake the training, including drivers driving a vehicle which is being used for the non-commercial carriage of passengers and goods and which is carrying material or equipment to be used by that person in the course of his work, provided that driving the vehicle is not his principal activity.
Since 2007 the coalition government has taken on board the red tape challenge to ensure that regulations do not place an unnecessary burden on business and have looked at broadening the exemption where people are not driving a vehicle which is not being used for hire and reward, not carrying goods and driving the vehicle is not the driver’s principal activity.
The government are specifically considering extending the exemption to cover vehicles travelling a relatively short distance, without carrying goods, not operating for hire and reward and driven as an incidental part of the driver’s occupation. This proposal would be limited to driving within 50kms from the driver’s base. It is anticipated that any such proposed exemption would cover moving vehicles within a depot, delivery and collection of hire vehicles (but not newly purchased vehicles) and delivery and collection of vehicles for maintenance within the 50km radius. The government is also considering a proposal to extend the exemption to driving vehicles to and from VOSA and authorised testing facilities. This second proposed exemption would not be limited to a 50km radius, but VOSA would expect drivers to be attending a pre booked inspection and for them to be following a reasonable direct route.
At the moment these proposals are being considered but the Government have indicated that they are unlikely to be introduced before 10 September 2013.