VOSA on the M25

Just as many takeovers in the corporate world are dressed up as mergers, the DfT's move to "merge" Vosa with the DSA is no more than a takeover.

The fact that DSA boss Rosemary Thew is leaving while Vosa chief Alastair Peoples works out the structure of the new organisation makes that clear enough.

The name of the new body has not been announced, but you can perm any number of silly acronyms from Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and Driving Standards Agency - seeing as Vosa has a part to play in regulating cabotage how about Vodca?

It is doubtful many in the industry will mourn the passing of the DSA - the main sentiment expressed on news of its demise was the hope that costs for operators would come down as a result.

While it must not be forgotten that the DSA is an agency - an arms length organisation rather than a government department, and policy failings cannot be laid at its door - it has let the road transport industry down on at least two counts.

First, it is ludicrous and makes no sense that someone must be

qualified to teach someone to drive a car or ride a motorcycle, but anyone who has held an LGV driving licence for three years can call them self an instructor and teach someone to drive a 44t truck.

While that failing should be laid at the door of the DfT, the DSA had a golden opportunity run a credible approval scheme for LGV driving schools and instructors and let it slip.

The DSA LGV instructor register was introduced in 1997. Initially set up on a voluntary basis with the firm intentions of becoming a mandatory qualification, more than 15 years on the scheme remains voluntary only and poorly supported by industry.

As a result of poor regulation the LGV driver training sector is a jungle where potential new entrants can be ripped off by unscrupulous brokers. This at a time when the transport industry badly needs new drivers.

Second, the DSA was the agency responsible for setting up the Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT), the body responsible for Driver CPC centre and course approval, as well as carrying out audits.

Much criticism has been dished out in the direction of JAUPT and DSA for how Driver CPC has been managed.

It is work in progress however let's be frank here. The DSA had 10 years to prepare for Driver CPC. That was plenty of time to get it right from the off.