The FTA has reiterated its warning that with the Driver CPC deadline now reached, the road transport industry is facing not only a short-term driver shortage but a more serious underlying recruitment problem.

In a statement issued today [10 September] to mark the Driver CPC deadline, the FTA said that while its members were Driver CPC ready, the timing involved could have a troubling effect on the approaching Christmas peak, with operators scrambling about to find drivers.

FTA fears temporary drivers, are frequently hired by operators during the run up to the holiday season to meet the increased, will be in short supply with repeated ancedotal evidence from across the sector in recent years that a percentage of older drivers will, in effect, have opted to retire rather than complete the Driver CPC.

Longer-term, FTA is worried the additional financial implications of the Driver CPC training will deter young drivers looking to join the industry.

James Firth, FTA’s head of road freight and enforcement policy, said: “The deadline highlights a more fundamental problem of driver supply in the future. The cost of getting your HGV licence, the cost to companies of insuring young drivers, the lack of facilities for drivers on the road network and a generally negative image of the profession are all barriers to young people recognising the logistics industry for what it really is.”

DVSA today released figures suggesting 664,000 of Great Britain’s estimated 425,000 to 675,000 professional drivers had completed their 35 hours of training by today's deadline.

It repeated its warning that any drivers now caught operating without their Driver CPC, or who are unable to produce their Driver Qualification Card (DQC), will be hit with a £50 on the spot fine. There is an ultimate sanction of up to £1000 available for repeat offenders, which can be levied at the operator employing them too.

Driver Qualification Card

Offences will be reported to the traffic commissioners also, who then have the option to take action against both the driver and also the operator.

Underlining this, Joan Aitken, lead traffic commissioner on Driver CPC, said: “For those operators and drivers who have not caught up with this deadline, then the message has to be - get this sorted now.

"Failing to complete the hours and be equipped with drivers holding the driver qualification card (DQC) runs the real risk of action being taken against drivers and operators.”

By Emma Shone