Changes to regulations based on the review/consultation about amendments to Driver CPC

The main changes are:

  • Drivers should complete 7 hours of training a year.
  • They should not repeat the same course unless there is a specific need.
  • If DVSA believe a training provider knowingly allowed a driver to repeat courses, they may revoke the driver’s periodic training hours, or their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DQC) card.
  • Courses can include a maximum of 2 hours e-learning per 7-hour course for drivers to complete prior to attending the classroom or during the classroom sessions, where the other five hours will be delivered.
  • Drivers can now also undergo training based on other transport-related EU Directives that does not hold specific approval as a Driver CPC course.
  • This may include training on the transport of dangerous goods (ADR training taken under Directive 2008/68/EC) and other training yet to be confirmed.
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Traffic commissioners publish 2019-20 annual report

The Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain have published their annual report for 2019-20.

In the report, the commissioners:

  • outline the approach they have taken to assist operators during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
  • provide an update on progress against their strategic targets
  • report on their observations from the past year of regulating the road transport industries
  • give their thanks to critical workers in the road transport industries, OTC staff, and DVSA staff for their hard work during the pandemic

Read the traffic commissioners’ annual report for 2019-20

Response to the COVID-19 pandemic

A large part of the report is dedicated to the flexible and pragmatic measures put in place to support and regulate the road transport industries during this difficult period. The report recognises our reliance on safe and reliable transport during the lock down period and the efforts of operators, transport managers, drivers and OTC staff.

The topics covered in this section include:

  • a change in regulatory approach proportionate to the circumstances of the pandemic
  • issuing practical advice for operators
  • helping to ensure vehicle safety during lockdown
  • working out a way of carrying out compliance checks
  • working to introduce virtual training and remote audits
  • supporting bus operations

Statistics for the year

The report contains the Office of the Traffic Commissioner’s stats for 2019-20. This covers both its licensing and regulatory functions.

Some of the key stats for the year are:

  • 11,803 operator licence applications and variations processed
  • 15,640 local bus registrations processed
  • 1,541 public inquiries
  • 318 preliminary hearings
  • 17,937 driver conduct cases closed

Read ‘Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain publish 2019-20 annual report

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End to maintenance schedule relaxations in latest COVID-19 advice update

The traffic commissioners (TCs) have announced an end to maintenance inspection interval relaxations from 1 September 2020. This is covered in the latest updated to their advice for operators during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The traffic commissioners had agreed a risk-based approach during the COVID-19 pandemic where operators unable to access maintenance facilities could extend the usual maintenance intervals for their vehicles. As restrictions begin to lift, the commissioners have taken the decision to end this policy.

The update issued on 30 July 2020 also covers:

  • an extension of temporary local bus service processes until 4 January 2021
  • an increase in the notice period for service variations for Local Authorities from 24 hours to 72 hours in England and Scotland
  • amending a registered local bus service to become a school or works bus service
  • the use of additional vehicles on services

Read more about the latest updated to the traffic commissioners’ COVID-19 advice for operators

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DVSA plans for heavy vehicle testing

Heavy vehicle testing restarted at Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs) on 04 July 2020.
As you know, we’ve been issuing certificates of temporary exemption (CTEs) to vehicles and trailers due for test.
We’re now able to confirm our longer-term plans to help manage testing demand:
Exemptions will be in use until March 2021
3-month exemptions will continue for all vehicles and trailers that have not already received one
12-month exemptions will be introduced for certain operators, vehicles and trailers

Issuing further exemptions
Vehicles and trailers due for test up to March 2021 will get a 3-month exemption if they have not already received one.
But certain vehicles and trailers due for test up to March 2021 will get longer exemptions.

What is the criteria?
Fleets which are considered to be safer will get 12-month exemptions.
Newer vehicles and trailers, Earned Recognition operators and those demonstrating a higher level of compliance generally have the lowest test failure rates.

Exemption status
Eligibility
12-month exemption
Either:
Earned Recognition operator (whole fleet)
Operator in green OCRS roadworthiness band with 50 or more roadworthiness events and a calculated roadworthiness base score of 1.3 or lower on 27 July 2020
Vehicle or trailer up to 2 years old
3-month exemption
Not previously had an exemption and not eligible for a 12-month exemption (see above)
 
How will this work?
All exemptions will be applied automatically.

3-month exemptions will apply from the original test date. For example, a vehicle with a test originally due in September 2020 will be moved to December 2020.

12-month exemptions will also apply from the original test date. For example, a vehicle with a test originally due in March 2020 which got an exemption to September 2020 will be moved to March 2021.

For Public Service Vehicles (PSVs), the exact date of expiry will be retained. So, if the vehicle is due for test on 15 September 2020 and gets a 3-month exemption, it will move to 15 December 2020.

Operators of dangerous goods vehicles who are getting an exemption for the first time should complete the application for an ADR annual inspection waiver to keep their inspection date in line with the new test date.
Further information will be provided directly to dangerous goods operators.

12-month exemptions – eligible operators

Longer exemptions will only be applied to vehicles and trailers specified on operator licences.

All eligible operators should ensure their vehicle lists on Vehicle Operator Licensing (VOL) are up to date by 21 August 2020. Trailer data can alternatively be provided in an Excel file. We will provide details to operators on how to do this for trailers.

Operators with a green OCRS roadworthiness score can find out if they will qualify for a 12-month exemption by asking for a copy of their OCRS report covering the 3 year period to 27 July 2020.

12-month exemptions – eligible vehicles

Longer exemptions will be applied to vehicles and trailers which are up to 2 years old. This will not be linked to OCRS score or operator licence status.

If an exemption has already been issued to the vehicle or trailer, the test date will be made up to 12 months.

This will retain the test date and month of the original test prior to any exemption being issued.

When will exemptions be applied?
We will begin to apply 3-month exemptions immediately.
12-month exemptions will be processed from 24 August 2020 and we will start with vehicles and trailers which are due in for test in August 2020 (those with 3-month exemptions issued in May 2020).

Some PSVs will not get longer exemptions prior to their August 2020 test expiry date because the individual expiry date is before 24 August 2020.
You can use MOT test history to confirm vehicle test expiry dates.

You should continue to manage the regular maintenance and inspection schedule for your vehicles and trailers during the exemption period. This is a legal requirement under your operator’s licence.

What advice have we given to ATFs?
We’ve given ATFs guidance on the vehicle tests they should prioritise. The highest priority are those vehicles and trailers which legally need a test.

So, we’ve asked ATFs to prioritise:
Vehicles/trailers legally due a test within a month
Vehicles/trailers going on international journeys
Dangerous goods vehicles
Specialist vehicle types (eg. refuse vehicles, gritters)
Prohibition clearances

If you will now benefit from longer exemptions and have tests booked in the next few months, we would like you to reschedule those appointments to create space for vehicles which will legally require a test.

What if my exemption is expiring and I cannot get a test?
It’s important that vehicles and trailers are only presented when tests are due. 

We’ll be making more testing staff available to ATFs at short notice. So, it’s worth checking availability several times with a range of ATFs.

If you’ve taken all reasonable steps to find an appointment and you are unable to secure a test, you’ll be able to notify us. We’ll provide more information about this shortly.
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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Driver CPC card validity for lorry, bus and coach drivers

Extension of expiry dates

Most professional lorry and bus drivers must complete 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to maintain their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence qualification. This is evidenced by a Driver CPC card.

The card is sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card’ or ‘DQC’.

The validity of DQCs with expiry dates from 1 February 2020 to 31 August 2020 has been extended by 7 months. If the expiry date on your card is in this period, you should add 7 months to that date to calculate the new expiry date.

Examples

DQC with an expiry date of 1 February 2020 is now valid until 1 September 2020.

DQC with an expiry date of 1 July 2020 is now valid until 1 February 2021.

You will not be issued with a new card to reflect the new expiry date.

You must continue to carry your DQC.

Periodic training – DQC with an expiry date from 1 February 2020 to 31 August 2020

The 7 month extension to the validity of your DQC gives you an extra 7 months to complete your 35 hours of periodic training. You have 5 years and 7 months from the date your current CPC became valid to undertake this training.

Example

Your DQC validity has been extended from 30 June 2020 to 31 January 2021. This means periodic training undertaken from 1 July 2015 counts towards the 35 hours of training you must complete by 31 January 2021 to renew your DQC.

Enforcement arrangements

DQC with an expiry date from 1 September 2020 to 30 September 2020

On 31 March 2020 DVSA gave notice that, subject to review, it did not intend to carry out enforcement action against drivers from 1 September 2020 to 30 September 2020 if their DQC expired during this period.

This gave these drivers up to 29 extra days to complete their periodic CPC training, if this was disrupted due to COVID19.

This notice has been rescinded and enforcement action will be carried out from September in relation to DQCs expiring after 31 August, as there are now enough periodic training courses available for drivers whose DQC expires in September 2020 to renew their DQC before then.

If your DQC expires from September 2020, you must not drive until it is renewed. You could face a £1000 fine if you drive without a valid DQC.

Where this applies

All EU countries are obliged to recognise the extension of your DQC. You must carry your DQC when carrying out international road transport.

Remote training

Training is available remotely from commercial providers, via online video platforms. The department encourages drivers to continue to undertake training wherever possible, but not as an activity that needs extra travel and only in compliance with general government advice.

Details of all approved periodic training are on the JAUPT website.

Check your training record

You can find out here how much periodic training you’ve already completed.

Never held a Driver CPC but has acquired rights, or Driver CPC expired before 1 February 2020

If you have never held a Driver CPC and have ‘acquired rights’, or your Driver CPC expired before 1 February 2020, you can complete 35 hours of periodic CPC training to get your Driver CPC.

Some periodic CPC training is currently being delivered remotely.

Further information

Contact dcpc_cc@dvsa.gov.uk if you have any questions.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: Take extra care as England’s roads get busier

England’s roads are becoming busier as people begin to return to the roads.

Commercial drivers are being advised to take extra care and remember many drivers on England’s roads have not used their vehicles since the lockdown.

Key advice

If you are a lorry, bus or coach driver you should continue to:

  • stay alert to those around you, especially in blind spots
  • carry out your walkaround checks to ensure your vehicle is roadworthy
  • check the position of mirrors
  • make sure your loads are secure
  • follow the Highway Code advice for your type of vehicle.

It is in everyone’s interest to keep the roads as safe as possible over the coming days and weeks.

Thank you for your vital work keeping the country fed and supplied, or ensuring those who cannot work from home get to their workplaces.

Keep up to date with all official government advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) at GOV.UK

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DfT and HSE: drivers must be allowed access to hygiene facilities

In an open letter, HSE and DfT have reminded businesses of their duties to drivers under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Those regulations require business to provide suitable toilet and hand washing facilities to drivers visiting their premises. 

In their letter, HSE and DfT remind businesses which make or receive deliveries that they must ensure that drivers have easy and safe access to toilets and hand washing facilities.

The Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain welcome this letter. Britain’s delivery drivers do vital work and their health must be protected.

Traffic commissioners can consider any breaches of relevant health and safety legislation when taking regulatory action against an operator.

We encourage all operators to read the letter and the guidance it accompanies.

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Coronavirus update: D4 medical suspension, driver hours and motorway services

The government has temporarily suspended the need for a D4 medical when renewing driving entitlements.

D4 medical suspension

With NHS staff rightly focused on the nationwide response to COVID-19, the government is taking action to protect essential supply chains by making temporary provisions for commercial drivers aged 45 and over, to forgo the need for a D4 medical in order to renew their driving entitlement.

This change is temporary and will only apply where the driver does not have any existing notifiable health conditions, and their licence has not expired before 1 January 2020. The licence will only be valid for 1 year instead of 5 years and the driver will need to submit a completed D4 when the licence is due for renewal in 12 months. 

Drivers will still be required to self-declare any medical conditions that may affect their ability to drive. Those with health issues that prevent them from driving safely will not have their licence renewed. All drivers must ensure they are medically fit to drive.

More information can be found on GOV.UK

Motorway services are open

Motorway and major trunk road services remain open 24 hours a day following advice from the government deeming them as ‘essential services’.

The welfare of commercial drivers is a priority. While some service stations have reduced their opening hours, fuel, toilets, food and drink remain available at all service stations 24 hours a day.

Drivers can plan their break stops by visiting the Highways England website, which is updated 7 days a week.

Driver hours relaxation extended to 31 May

As part of the government’s effort to keep supply chains moving throughout the coronavirus outbreak, the Department for Transport has authorised an extension to the existing relaxation of the drivers’ hours rules.

The extension means that the temporary relaxation previously due to end on 21 April will continue until 23:59 on 31 May 2020. This extension does not apply to the previous relaxation on break requirements.

Driver safety remains a priority for the government and drivers should not be expected to drive whilst tired.

Employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees and other road users.

Keep up to date with all official government advice on COVID-19 at GOV.UK.

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Claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Use this scheme if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to coronavirus.Published 26 March 2020From:HM Revenue & Customs

Contents

  1. Who can apply
  2. How much you’ll get
  3. How to apply
  4. After you’ve applied
  5. Other help you can get

This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.

Who can apply

You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  • traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income come from self-employment. This is determined by at least one of the following conditions being true:

  • having trading profits/partnership trading profits in 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your total taxable income
  • having average trading profits in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your average taxable income in the same period

If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return.

If you have not submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you must do this by 23 April 2020.

HMRC will use data on 2018-19 returns already submitted to identify those eligible and will risk assess any late returns filed before the 23 April 2020 deadline in the usual way.

How much you’ll get

You’ll get a taxable grant which will be 80% of the average profits from the tax years (where applicable):

  • 2016 to 2017
  • 2017 to 2018
  • 2018 to 2019

To work out the average HMRC will add together the total trading profit for the 3 tax years (where applicable) then divide by 3 (where applicable), and use this to calculate a monthly amount.

It will be up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months.

We’ll pay the grant directly into your bank account, in one instalment.

How to apply

You cannot apply for this scheme yet.

HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.

Individuals do not need to contact HMRC now and doing so will only delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the scheme.

You will access this scheme only through GOV.UK. If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help or are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it is a scam.

After you’ve applied

Once HMRC has received your claim and you are eligible for the grant, we will contact you to tell you how much you will get and the payment details.

If you claim tax credits you’ll need to include the grant in your claim as income.

Other help you can get

The government is also providing the following additional help for the self-employed:

If you’re a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

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