Update from Gareth Llewellyn
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
I want to update you on what the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is doing to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, and advise you to look at what support the government has put in place for you.
Vocational driving tests
As you know, we have suspended driving tests to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
We are continuing to provide emergency tests for those whose work is critical to the coronavirus response.
The details of how to apply for these have been published at https://www.gov.uk/dvsa.
We will continue to prioritise these and match them against 90 volunteer vocational driving examiners across Great Britain.
Not all driving examiners are able to provide this service, because those particularly vulnerable from coronavirus need to stay at home. However, those staying at home are helping to process requests for emergency tests.
Providing driver training for people whose work is critical to the coronavirus response
I’m aware that some of the people whose work is critical to the coronavirus response will need to finish their driving lessons and be able to use a vehicle for their test.
I’m very grateful to those of you who are able to continue providing lessons for those who need them.
In line with our plans to only provide tests for candidates who have an essential need, when taking lessons, we recommend that you ask candidates to bring appropriate ID with them demonstrating the need for them to take lessons – for example, an ID badge, payslip or letter from their employer.
We will share details of the personal protective arrangements we’re putting in place for our vocational examiners with you. You may wish to consider similar arrangements if you’re training or conducting Driver CPC module 4 assessments for workers critical to the coronavirus response.
Following the latest Public Health England guidance
We also recommend that you put in place appropriate measures in line with the latest guidance Public Heath England and Cabinet Office guidance, to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This includes guidance on:
· hand washing and use of hand sanitiser
· having good ventilation in place where possible
· cleaning shared surfaces in vehicles regularly
People who share enclosed spaces, such as the cabs of vehicles, should keep the window open for ventilation and they should be careful to avoid touching their face at all times. When they leave the vehicle they should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more, or use hand sanitiser when they cannot wash their hands.
Visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support for the latest guidance.
Reversing, uncoupling and recoupling manoeuvres
To help stop the spread of coronavirus, vocational tests will now be terminated if a candidate fails their test during the reversing or uncoupling and recoupling manoeuvres. These manoeuvres will be carried out at the start of the test where possible.
This measure will help prevent examiners and candidates needing to sit near each other during a test, when the candidate has already failed.
This only affects vocational tests being conducted during the coronavirus pandemic and does not apply to car tests.
Once the on-road test has started, the examiner will follow normal test procedures.
Driver CPC requirement: temporary changes
During the coronavirus outbreak it may be difficult for drivers to complete their Driver CPC periodic training.
The Department for Transport has therefore put in place temporary changes in professional driver qualification requirements.
This means that drivers whose Driver CPC card expires in the period from 1 March 2020 to 30 September 2020 can continue driving.
We have approved a range of Driver CPC courses which can be delivered via online video platforms and we would encourage drivers to undertake this training. Face-to-face training however is not available at this time.
Working with you and your associations
I know how challenging the current situation is. I appreciate the impact our decisions have on you, your business and your family. And I fully understand the uncertainty is worrying.
We are holding regular conference calls with the National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI), RTITB (Road Transport Industry Training Board), Skills for Logistics and other organisations to make sure your questions and concerns are shared with DVSA. I lead these calls, and it’s a personal priority for me to make sure you have the information you need as soon as it’s available.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has set out plans that will see the self-employed receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least 3 months.
If you are eligible for the new scheme, HMRC will contact you and invite you to apply using a simple online form, with the cash being paid directly into your bank account.
HMRC aims to contact you by mid May 2020, and will make payments by early June 2020.
The government is supporting businesses through a package of other measures during this period of unprecedented disruption.
To find support, advice and information to help you with the impact of coronavirus on your business, please visit https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk. You can sign up for email alerts from there to get the latest information.
Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives
The single most important action we can all take in fighting coronavirus is to follow government guidance and stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
I do not underestimate the challenges this brings for you and your pupils.
When the government relaxes its social-distancing measures, we will make sure we help you understand how this will affect DVSA’s services, your ability to return to work, and what it means for your pupils.
You can sign up to get email alerts from us at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/dvsa-email-alerts.
The priority for us now is to save lives in a different way than we usually do. But when things get back to normal, we will get back to our vital work of helping everyone stay safe on Britain’s roads.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
I hope you, your family and your friends stay safe.
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
Coronavirus: PHE guidance on social distancing in the workplace
Public Health England (PHE) has published a list of tailored advice for different scenarios as an example of how social distancing and other measures might be implemented by employers in England to help protect their workforce and customers from coronavirus while still continuing to trade.
Advice for Transport businesses
Social distancing should be maintained where possible but we recognise that on many forms of transport, staff will not always be able to stay 2 metres away from each other or passengers. Some examples of the advice are below.
If workers have to share enclosed spaces such as the cabs of vehicles, they should keep the window open for ventilation and they should be careful to avoid touching their face at all times. On leaving the enclosed space, they should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more or use hand sanitiser when they cannot wash their hands.
For the use of private vehicles or when car pooling, if the journey is essential, such as travel to work, and there is no option but to share a car with people who are not part of the same household, journeys should be shared with the same individuals and with the minimum number of people at any one time.
Good ventilation (i.e. keeping the windows open) and facing away from each other may help to reduce the risk.
Private vehicles that are used by people from multiple households should be cleaned regularly using gloves and standard cleaning products with particular emphasis on handles and other areas where passengers may touch surfaces
More information on different scenarios and advice can be found here.
Keep up to date with all official government advice on Covid-19 at www.gov.uk/coronavirus
3rd April 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: changes to professional driver requirements
he Government has announced temporary changes to professional driver requirements as part of its response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Driver CPC periodic training
During the coronavirus outbreak, it may be difficult for drivers to complete their periodic training. The Department for Transport has therefore put in place temporary changes to professional driver qualification requirements.
Professional lorry and bus drivers whose Driver Qualification Card (DQC) expires in the period 1 March 2020 to 30 September 2020 can continue driving.
Drivers should continue to carry their expired DQC during this period.
Find out more about the updated guidance and keep up to date with all official government advice on coronavirus.
19 March 2020
With the COVID-19/Coronavirus situation continuing to evolve we would like to reassure you that business is continuing as normal here at DMP Training (UK) LTD and that we are closely monitoring all the advice from both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UK Government and evolving our procedures accordingly.
We are taking extra measures to protect our staff and customers in the following ways:
- A Coronavirus check sheet will be completed by every candidate to protect our staff and fellow candidates
- We are providing antibacterial cleaner in all our training vehicles, the steering wheel, gear stick, handbrake and door handles will be wiped down before each training session.
- Our training centre will be regularly cleaned and disinfected throughout the day especially in the key customer contact points with antibacterial cleaner.
- Our handwashing and drying facilities in our training centre will be maintained to ensure that they are constantly refilled and available.
- Guidance on proper handwashing techniques are now displayed.
- Please don’t be offended that we have stopped shaking hands with our customers.
The most important steps that you can personally take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are:
- Wash your hands regularly
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue and dispose of it immediately
- Avoid touching your face
We will continue to monitor developments and advice very closely. Should you have any questions in the meantime please don't hesitate to contact us.
Top myths about DVSA roadside enforcement
Every job has them.
Those niggling misconceptions often fed by people’s prejudices or misunderstandings.
Our roadside enforcement work is no different.
I heard them all when I was a frontline enforcement officer. Now I’m in a management role, I often hear the same untruths at seminars and conferences.
Here are the top myths surrounding our enforcement work and the reality behind them…
1. Our roadside checks include cars
This is not the case. Our enforcement focus is on commercial vehicles as set out by law.
Why I hear you ask?
Commercial vehicles – whether they’re lorries, vans or large passenger vehicles – pose a higher risk to road users.
Often their sheer size means the impact of something going wrong is huge. It’s potentially even worse when you’re talking about a coach with 70 passengers on board.
Unlike your average car driver with a short daily commute, commercial drivers are on the road for long hours.
Our role is to make sure they’re taking breaks and not driving for too long to keep us all safe. We’ve dealt with over 15,000 serious drivers’ hours offences since last April.
Trailers and caravans
The Government also requires us to check other road users such as vehicles towing trailers and caravans as part of wider road safety initiatives.
The Police are responsible for roadside enforcement of cars. However, we work with the Police in joint enforcement operations targeting all vehicles.
We do cover cars with our statutory work on MOTs.
2. We pull over all lorries
Our enforcement is focused on the bad guys – the serially non-compliant operators – to improve safety and traffic flows.
We are very unlikely to stop vehicles run by the safest operators, such as those belonging to our earned recognition scheme, unless there is an obvious visual problem. This is an extra ‘carrot’ to encourage operators to keep their vehicles in good order and stick to the rules.
Our enforcement officers check how compliant an operator is at the touch of a button.
Operators’ compliance ratings are based on previous roadside checks along with other intelligence such annual test results of their vehicles.
3. We keep the money from our roadside fines
Quite the opposite.
All of the money from our fixed penalty fines goes to the Government to fund vital public services.
The only exception is the £80 fee we charge to free up an immobilised vehicle once a serious defect or offence has been resolved. This fee partially covers the cost of this action.
A large part of our enforcement funding comes from other DVSA income such as lorry and large passenger vehicle testing fees.
Above all, our fines aim to deter commercial drivers and operators from breaking the rules and not maintaining their vehicles.
Other deterrents include prosecutions and referring more serious offences to the Traffic Commissioner.
4. Human error causes most accidents, why bother with vehicle defects?
It’s true that defective vehicles account for around 2% of all road accidents.
However, this is a testament to our enforcement role along with car MOTs and annual tests for larger vehicles.
The UK has some of the safest roads in the world, which is partly due to our checks on commercial vehicles.
This myth also ignores our work on distractions such as mobile phone use and drivers’ hours which help to reduce accidents caused by human error.
5. We give out huge fines on any defect or offence
It’s all about the level of risk, so the fine or other punishment is in line with the severity of the defect or offence.
Just like a car MOT, we give out advisory notices on minor defects which need looking at but aren’t serious safety risks and these don’t involve a fine.
What about a faulty indicator bulb?
Whilst some drivers feel it’s not a major issue, we make sure the bulb is replaced before allowing the vehicle to move on to prevent an accident. We’ll only hand out a fine if the driver was aware of the defect and carried on with the journey.
It’s estimated 85% of defects can be spotted by the commercial driver during their required walkaround check before each journey.
6. We maintain Britain’s roads
In short, no.
The clue is in our title – our role covers drivers and vehicles, not the roads themselves.
Councils are responsible for maintaining local roads, whilst Highways England and Traffic Scotland cover the maintenance of motorways and major trunk roads in England and Scotland.*
However, we are part of the bigger road condition ‘picture’ as we’re tackling overloaded lorries and insecure loads, which can cause significant damage to the network.
Setting the record straight
I hope this blog post sets the record straight on these persistent myths surrounding our work.
For more information on becoming an earned recognition operator and how it works visit our earned recognition webpage.
*South Wales Trunk Road Agent and North & Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent cover the major roads in these areas, and all Northern Irish roads are maintained by Transport NI.
Do you know your Operator Licence Undertakings? We get asked this question more nowadays as this information isn’t that easy to find due to operator licence applications being all online. So for anyone looking here they are!
What are Operator Licence Undertakings?
They are set of undertakings which, when issued with your operator licence, you will sign and agree to abide by. Not doing so will probably result in you appearing in front of the traffic commissioner! Depending on your application there may some extra provisions added to the statuary operator licence undertakings.
Undertaking No 1.
The laws relating to the driving and operation of vehicles used under this licence are observed.
Undertaking No 2.
The rules on drivers hours and Tachographs are observed, and proper records are kept and that they are stored, also that records are readily available on request
Undertaking No 3.
To ensure vehicles and trailers are not overloaded
Undertaking No 4.
That all vehicles operator within speed limits
Undertaking No 5.
To ensure drivers promptly report any defects that could prevent the safe operation of the vehicle or trailer and that all defects are recorded in writing.
Undertaking No 6.
To ensure all vehicles and trailers, including hired vehicles and trailers, are kept in a fit and serviceable condition.
Undertaking No 7.
To ensure you are keeping full records for a 15 month period for all drivers reports of defects, safety inspections, routine maintenance and repairs to vehicles.
All these records need to be available on request.
Undertaking No 8.
In respect of each operating centre specified, that the number of vehicles and number trailers kept there will not exceed the maximum number authorised at each operating centre. (Which will be noted on the licence)
Undertaking No 9.
An unauthorised operating centre is not used in any traffic area.
Undertaking No 10.
You will inform the traffic commissioner of any convictions against yourself, company, business partners, company directors and nominated transport manager/s named on the application.
Undertaking No 11.
That you will ensure that you will notify the traffic commissioner of any changes within 28 days, EG: proposed changes to maintenance arrangements. A change in the financial status of the licence holder (Liquidation etc) or a change to the limited company status or partnership that may affect the licence.
Are you confident you are keeping your promise to the Traffic Commissioner?
Comment from FTA re approval of Cat C+E apprenticeship amendments
Wednesday 30 October 2019
Today’s (30 October 2019) announcement from the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) of approval of the drivers’ C+E apprenticeship is recognition of much hard work by FTA, which speaks for the logistics industry, in partnership with the Apprenticeships Trailblazer Group. However, as Sally Gilson, Head of Skills Development at FTA, explains, there is still much more work that needs to be done to ensure the future workforce for such a vital industry:
“FTA has been collaborating with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) for some time to find a route for both Cat C and Cat C+E licences, and today’s announcement is the culmination of more than two years’ complex and intensive negotiations. We are delighted that the IFATE has heard our call for a viable apprenticeship standard against which young people can train for a career in logistics, and will now continue work on developing an Urban Operative standard which will provide the two paths the logistics industry desperately needs.
“However, many logistics businesses will not ever be able to draw down all the funds they paid into the Apprenticeship Levy as apprenticeships do not meet all the needs of our sector. So, while today’s announcement is welcome news, government still needs to reform the Levy to enable it to pay for all forms of training."
Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.
Driver CPC deadline reminder