Most professional lorry and bus drivers must complete 35 hours o fperiodic training every 5 years to maintain a driver qualification card (DQC). Due to the COVID-19 emergency situation it has become virtually impossible for some drivers to complete the required training. Remote training has been made available but is frankly not a viable option for many. So, after quite a delay following several requests for a definitive answer by the trade associations, the Department for Transport (DfT) has finally agreed to put in place temporary changes in professional driver qualification requirements, in relation to the need to hold a driver qualification card (DQC) when driving professionally (i.e. main activity is driving HGV/PSV)
This means that drivers whose DQC expires in the period from 1st March 2020 to 30th September 2020 can continue driving.
In addition, military drivers (who have different training) will be allowed to drive in civilian situations during that period.
Drivers will not be subject to enforcement action by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in respect of the DCPC regulations. More importantly, as many DVSA officers are not out on the roads at the moment in GB, all the Police forces across Great Britain have been made aware of this, as they are the most likely to be checking our drivers’ during this period.
Therefore, if a driver that would be expected to hold a valid DQC is stopped and checked by any enforcement officer they should only be checking to see that the driver has recently held a valid DQC, or are in the military (including reservists acting under instruction).
Drivers should carry their expired DQC if they have it.
The drivers that this measure applies to will once more be required to comply with Driver CPC rules from 1 October 2020, unless a further relaxation is granted.
Where this applies
These changes apply to Great Britain. Arrangements in Northern Ireland have already been announced, as in other countries across Europe.
But, it will be for the operator and driver that goes abroad to check what the situation is in the country they are going through or into. The International Road Forum have published up to date and very useful information covering this.
The DfT has stated that the end date for this relaxation of the need to hold a valid DQC will be kept under review. The proposed schedule includes a substantial period to recover missed training, whose duration will need further assessment.
Operators will need to check insurance validity, but should not expect any significant change in premiums.