An insurance broker is urging operators to keep on top of CPC renewals as a record half a million driver qualification cards (DQCs) are due to expire this year.

McCarron Coates said the Covid-19 pandemic had reduced opportunities for drivers to take CPC courses in 2020 and 2021, so the number who had not undergone any refresher training over the last five years was probably higher than at any point in the past.

The broker said companies needed to put a strategy in place to avoid getting caught up in a last-minute dash to train drivers and warned that the problem could easily go under the radar if staff are not transparent with their employers.

Driving without a valid DQC could see a driver fined £1,000, but any operator who allows an HGV driver to take to the road without a valid card can also face serious consequences.

Ian McCarron, director at McCarron Coates, said: “Operators need to take a pro-active approach now, building an accurate picture of their drivers’ situations.

“They should gain temporary access to drivers’ CPC record, to check how many required CPC hours have been completed. From there, they should get drivers onto courses and phase in what could be anything up to 35 hours of training, well before the deadline.”

He added: “Checking on a driver’s CPC qualifications and history typically happens at recruitment but is something that can then slip from view.

“Operators should stay on top of this but also better plan CPC training throughout the five years, rather than letting it be a last-minute action that simply ticks a box.”

Last year, educational training provider TTC said DVSA statistics showed 487,505 DQCs issued in 2019 were due to expire before the end of 2024.

James Swaffield, TTC Group MD said: “There is a significant business risk for organisations for whom a large number of their drivers’ CPC expires in 2024.

“Our own customer data shows that 61% of DQC holders currently registered with our driver risk management platform, Continuum, will expire in 2024.”