Proposed revisions to Driver CPC rules leave too many questions unanswered and don’t account for the challenges and changes seen during the pandemic.
So says Fleet Source as it warns that the DVSA must ensure that the fleet industry is not left behind in the digital training revolution.
Although the DVSA has published the results of its industry consultation on DCPC, which launched on 18 March and ran until 29 April, the training specialist said the findings don’t reflect the challenges in DCPC delivery during the crisis.
In its response to the consultation, the DVSA announced that it was sticking with the current exemption for maintenance personnel driving category D and D1 vehicles, based on feedback, and would change the definition of “non-commercial” to remove “personal use”. It also said it was not possible to implement an exemption for certain drivers in rural areas but it would implement an exemption for drivers in some industries. In addition, the consultation found support for alternatively fuelled C1 vehicles being driven on a category B licence and the DVSA said it would also proceed with amendments to Section 1 of Annex 1 and amendments to the delivery of periodic training.
Commenting on the response, Fleet Source CEO Nick Caesari said: “The DVSA also now needs to consider the significant technological advances in remote training delivery that have been made in the last few months.”
Caesari also said there were gaps in the findings: “The published consultation also gives no indication as to how and when the changes will be implemented. Although we welcome 12 of the 35 hours periodic training to be undertaken by e-learning, it begs the question: as seven hours is the current normal course duration, what time variation of this will they permit, for what type of courses and, what do they exactly mean by e-learning?”
Calling on the DVSA to consider the remote distance learning solutions that have been implemented during the Covid-19 crisis, he added: “Our industry faces enormous challenges as we emerge from this crisis and anything which helps fleet operators to meet their training demands cost-effectively and flexibly, must be championed. The DVSA needs to do much more than merely tinker round the edges of the DCPC legislation.”
Recent independent research of drivers on distance learning during the Covid-19 lockdown showed that some 79% would recommend it to others and 62% preferred it to classroom-based training.
And Caesari added that today’s distance learning is “leagues ahead of the old ‘death by PowerPoint’” and said fleets want to embrace it as we get back to business beyond the lockdown.
He added: “Fleet operators and drivers clearly have a great appetite for the benefits and opportunities it brings. Now, more than ever, is time for transformative change in the commercial driver training sector.”