The European Commission (EC) has confirmed that a review of the rules on the training and qualifications of professional drivers could lead to “adjustments” to the current Driver CPC requirements.

The review, which is expected to lead to the adoption of a new Commission proposal by the end of 2016, will focus on three areas identified in an evaluation of the implementation of the Driver CPC published in October last year.

This evaluation highlighted a requirement for greater legal clarity over Driver CPC exemptions and the discrepancy between the Driver CPC directive and driver licensing directive in terms of the minimum age of new drivers; a need for greater mutual recognition of training undertaken in other member states; and a need to look again at the effectiveness of Driver CPC training in various ways.

A spokesman for the EC told it was “too early for specific details” but admitted that “there could be adjustment to the rules to address… the three areas identified”.

Driver Qualification Card

Among the specific concerns examined in the earlier evaluation were wide variations among member states in terms of driver exemptions; the need to adapt training more to the actual needs of drivers and companies; and variations in the timetable applying to delivery of the 35 hours of periodic training over five years. The evaluation also noted suggestions that periodic training based purely on the classroom without any practical training and without a test to measure candidate advancement would not have any real impact on road safety.

FTA head of road freight and enforcement policy James Firth said they review was welcome. “There are certain aspects of the Driver CPC that could be improved. But we’re always concerned, when we see talk about harmonisation of requirements, that it could mean lack of flexibility.”

Any move to stipulate the content of courses or restrict the option to put staff through just one day of training a year would be particularly unwelcome, said Firth.

He also expressed concern about any legal clarification that might force member states who currently allow 18-year-olds to drive trucks under Driver CPC rules to stop doing so. “At 18, young people are making career decision and if we close off the logistics industry at that point, we may have lost them for their entire working career,” he said.

RHA policy director Jack Semple also welcomed the review with reservations. “What we absolutely don’t need is a more centralised, bureaucratic approach or a set of rules that makes thing more centralised and dictates to the industry what it’s got to do,” he said.