Association of Trainers gives advice and warns of future requirements
The Association of Trainers (AoT) has identified what it describes as a disturbing side effect of carrying out driver CPC periodic training. A large number of ‘invalid’ licences are coming to light, with both a lack of entitlement and out of date photo cards regularly being found.
At the start of any Driver CPC periodic training course, the trainer completes a roll call and carries out a visual check of the driver’s licence and photo card, but then sometimes has to inform the driver they don’t hold a valid licence.
Operators should have their own system in place to monitor and check drivers are always in possession of a valid licence as they could be prosecuted for ‘causing and permitting’, whilst their insurance would also be technically invalid for such drivers.
Alec Horner, AoT chairman, told CBW: “Unfortunately, licence checks are often carried out by untrained personnel who simply photocopy the licence without checking information contained on the licence. Periodically, operators should carry out thorough checks using the DVLA licence enquiry system. Forms for this can be found at www.asot.org.uk/Licence-CPCChecks. A number of ‘commercial’ agencies can also carry out these checks.”
He also advises that from January 19, 2013, when further sections of the EU Third Driving Licence Directive are implemented, all new drivers will have to renew their PCV and LGV entitlements every five years, irrespective of their age, including those under 45 – although it will not be a retrospective requirement. While the photo card will still last for 10 years, the vocational licence will expire every five years. Drivers under 45 will have to simply complete a medical self-declaration, i.e. not have a full medical, by completing a D4 form. The requirement to have a mandatory eyesight check has not been included, although one large national chain has issued leaflets saying this is the case.
Operators might like to consider implementing a simple eyesight test (i.e. the ability to read a number plate at 20 metres) as part of their periodic licence check process and record this check as part of the licence check paperwork.
There is a general lax approach within many fleet operators and only a minority of PCV operators have implemented robust driver licence check procedures.
How many more drivers are going to attend a Driver CPC training course and get a nasty shock?
Many drivers have to stop driving temporarily until their licence is restored, therefore hitting them directly in the pocket. Whilst some might say it’s the driver’s own responsibility, the Police, VOSA and the Traffic Commissioners will clearly hold the operator to account for allowing a driver with an invalid licence to drive a PCV which is also technically uninsured.
Call the ASOT on 01797 344251. Visit www.asot.org.uk