Driver Licenses – a Brexit opportunity? The RHA wants you to have your say
Executive director of Policy and Public Affairs at the RHA, Rod McKenzie, outlines the C1 proposals.
You may have seen in the news alarming stories about the government suggesting that teenagers with car licenses could be put behind the wheel of an artic under new rules designed to give us a post-Brexit dividend.
Not surprisingly those stories are completely untrue.
But what the government is doing is asking those of us in the logistics industry to have our say on whether driver license entitlements should be changed.
To grant drivers who have a car (category B) licence entitlement additional entitlement to an HGV (category C1) licence
To grant drivers who have a car (category B) licence entitlement to a minibus (category D1) licence.
To create and make compulsory an instructor training programme, to create a register of instructors and to publish pass rates for instructors
To allow a driver who has held an HGV licence for 2 years to drive PCVs for maintenance and repair purposes.
Let’s just take the C1 proposal today.
We’d love you to have your say by writing to us at [email protected] and also to do the consultation before 29 October here.
This proposal will allow car drivers with licences issued after 1997 to drive a small lorry up to 7.5t, with a trailer of up to 750 kgs, for non-commercial uses. This is the same rule that applies to someone with a car licence issued before 1997.
Crucially it does not allow a driver to work commercially driving a C1 lorry without additional training and compliance with Driver CPC, tachograph, drivers’ hours and other rules.
Under the proposal access to driving a C1 lorry will be easier as less training will be needed. It is likely that some drivers of large vans could be tempted to obtain a Driver CPC to access the right to drive C1 lorries commercially. This is likely to increase the pool of C1 drivers available.
With the move to electric vehicles lorries coming, and the initial focus of smaller lorries covering urban areas, it is likely there will be strong demand for drivers in the C1 category in the coming 10 years.
So what do you think?
The RHA is concerned about safety. It is in the interest of operators to ensure drivers work safely for the benefit of the staff, all road users and the reputation of the industry.
For a professional trucker there are other issues: Safe loading and unloading, constant monitoring of vehicle condition, compliance with driving and rest rules, and understanding all driver responsibilities needs to be supported by training. That training is part of the current C1 test for commercial drivers.
Rather than simply granting a C1 licence, the RHA believes serious consideration need to be given to requiring that ALL NEW C1 drivers undertake compulsory basic training. This will ensure a level of skill and understanding for all drivers using these vehicles, for both private and commercial driving.
For commercial drivers the C1 entitlement could continue to be backed with the requirement to complete Driver CPC training, either through part 2 and 4 of the driving test or through 35 hours of Driver CPC training.
There is significant scope for radical improvement to the Driver CPC to improve its quality and accessibility and we are waiting for news on that. But we would like to hear from you – is C1 license reform a good idea or a bad one and most of all please have your say.
We’ll be writing more about D1 and the other ideas shortly.