Steve Hobson. Editor of Motor Transport: roadtransport.com
Friday 17 December 2010 00:00
The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has begun publishing statistics on the number of drivers completing Driver CPC courses on the Department for Transport (DfT) website.
However, some of the figures make puzzling reading, according to Sean Pargeter, director of training web portal www.nolgvbrokers.co.uk.
Statistics for the year to September 2010, the first full year when the Driver CPC came in for both passenger carrying and heavy goods vehicle drivers, show that 1,459,914 training hours (the equivalent to 208,000 seven-hour courses) were completed.
But in the 2010/11 year to date (i.e. from October to now) the DSA says 1,379,848 training hours, or 197,000 courses, were completed, a figure Pargeter says looks very high for a period of under three months: “If the figures are correct this is also very encouraging, as this shows maybe the haulage industry is finally getting to grips with the Driver CPC.”
Between September 2009 and 2010, 2,442 HGV drivers completed 35 hours approved training and were issued with driver qualification cards, but a further 2,092 have been issued since October.
The number of initial qualifications completed by new drivers taking their HGV licences combined with Driver CPC in 2009/10 was just 3,075. Pargeter believes there would have been roughly 50,000 people taking HGV tests last year and insists this figure seems very low.
“Approximately 10,000-15,000 of HGV tests would be C+E tests where initial Driver CPC is not required. This still leaves 35,000-40,000 tests. So less than one tenth of new entrants between September 2009 and September 2010 needed, or decided not to take, the initial Driver CPC.
“The low figure can only be attributed to two factors. One: those who already have C1, mainly under grandfather rights, are exempt from the initial qualification; and two: those who are/will be exempt from Driver CPC altogether.”
The DSA statistics also reveal that 972 training centres have been approved to offer Driver CPC courses by approvals body JAUPT, 143 of which gained approval since October.
Pargeter adds: “Going by these figures we have seen a huge increase in Initial and Periodic Driver CPC training and acquisition in the last three months compared to the entire previous year. If these figures are correct then industry should be given a pat on the back. It’s early days but lets hope this trend continues.”