A County Durham company that hires and trains lorry drivers is warning the industry faces its own bottle neck of untrained motorists this year.
Driver Hire Darlington, an Aycliffe-based franchise of the national firm, say the transport and logistics sectors are approaching a critical period, as thousands of drivers – hundreds in the North-East – still haven’t taken crucial new tests which will prohibit them from being on the road.
New Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) legislation was implemented in September 2009 across Europe and the UK.
The new rules means drivers of lorries over 3.5 tonnes have to sit 35 hours of classroom study, covering various aspects of their working environment, by September this year.
Consequences for companies and drivers caught operating after the deadline without their DCPC in place will see fines of £1,000 and licences suspended.
Driver Hire Darlington has been fast-tracking drivers through the courses, getting on average 150 through it every month over the last few months, but reckon the industry will still see a bottle neck of drivers queuing up to get it done before the September deadline.
Driver Hire CPT trainer Lee Wilmot said: “We’re already experiencing an increasing number of drivers coming through the door to get the CPC under their belts, but September is the cut-off point and we estimate that there are thousands of drivers yet to take the training in the UK, and hundreds in the North-East alone.
“There are a lot of heads in the sand, drivers thinking it won’t come into force and companies not getting round to it, but September is the cut-off point and it is going to happen.
“Drivers found driving lorries over three-and-a-half tonnes without the CPC licence face points and severe fines.
“There are concerns this will result in a chronic shortage of able drivers and, as always, when there are supply-and-demand issues, prices may increase dramatically.”
Driver Hire Darlington is currently training drivers from a number of nearby transport companies as well as independent operators, with their fast-track course costing £300.
Any firms or individuals wanting to know more can call Lee Wilmot on 01325 314887, or email [email protected]
• Pictured (above) is Driver Hire CPT trainer Lee Wilmot (right) and business development assistant Joe Carpenter (left) with Ian Woodall, a driver for LF Logistics who has completed his training.