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EU Directive costing lives, says BAA

British Aggregates Association says new DCPC legislation has backfired and made roads more dangerous

THE British Aggregates Association (BAA) is warning that an EU Directive designed to make the country’s roads safer has backfired and made them much more dangerous instead.

The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC) is a new requirement for professional bus, coach and lorry drivers that has been introduced by the EU with the stated aim of ‘improving road safety and helping to maintain high standards of driving’.


The legislation came into effect on 10 September 2009 with five years allowed for existing drivers to gain the 35h of training required. The period of grace expired on 10 September 2014 but many drivers either did not complete the training or left their jobs instead. Eight other EU countries have delayed implementation of DCPC until September 2016.

According to the BAA, the consequent shortage of drivers has forced hard-pressed transport operators to use less experienced, younger and foreign drivers to keep their trucks working, and that despite many complaints, the Department for Transport (DfT) has so far refused to acknowledge that any problem exists.

But the DfT’s inaction could leave them with blood on their hands, says the Association. It claims that an ongoing series of horrific accidents involving HGVs has caused suspicion that the new legislation may be costing lives rather than protecting them.

The BAA says British lorry drivers used to be famed for their skills, but most regard this scheme as an insult to their intelligence and many are quitting their jobs rather than returning to school. Drivers, it says, complain that the modules are simply box-ticking exercises with few qualified instructors, and that they are required to complete five seven-hour sessions but can repeat the same module five times. It is also alleged that some foreign drivers have passed without understanding what has been said, and that certificates are available on the black market.

The BAA warns that the HGV accident rate, which had been in steady decline, has been rising again since the introduction of the CPC, and that by the time the accident statistics for the post-September 2014 cut-off feed through it could be too late for many innocent motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

According to BAA director Robert Durward, what has been seen so far may only be the tip of the iceberg, as court cases can take a year or more to come to court. ‘Starving industry of transport is crazy; however, causing many thousands of inexperienced truck drivers, some whom cannot even speak our language, to drive 44-tonne trucks alongside private cars, bikes and pedestrians is positively insane,’ he said. ‘This is not so much a case of ‘something must be done’, this time something needs to be undone, and quickly.

‘It is of course virtually impossible to argue against legislation to ‘save lives’. There have been so many episodes like this that most people now simply shrug their shoulders in defeat, but this one is different – very different. Almost all of us will encounter HGVs while going about our daily business and any accident involving a truck with a car, pedestrian or bicycle can be very serious indeed. DfT are now risking all of our lives with their head-in-the-sand attitude.’

Mr Durward continued: ‘The best way to achieve a safe and cost-effective haulage fleet is to allow professional operators to run their businesses properly. They are best placed to judge a driver’s capabilities but their ability to select only competent drivers has been seriously compromised by this ill-conceived legislation. LGV CPC has backfired and is almost certainly killing innocent people as well as strangling the economy. It must be scrapped or postponed in line with other EU countries.’


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