TRAINING OF PROFESSIONAL DRIVERS
Draft Directive on the training of professional drivers for the carriage of goods or passengers by road.
||Article 71 EU; co-decision; qualified majority voting
||2 February 2001|
|Forwarded to the Council:
||5 February 2001|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||23 February 2001|
||Transport, Local Government and the Regions
|Basis of consideration:
||SEM of 20 November 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
||HC 28-xi (2000-01), paragraph 4 (4 April 2001)
|To be discussed in Council:
||6-7 December 2001
||Cleared, but information on progress requested
20.1 This draft Directive proposes minimum initial
driver training and periodic retraining requirements for lorry
and bus drivers, in addition to the possession of a driving licence.
When the previous Committee considered the proposal in April,
it did not clear it, asking to see the results of the consultation
exercise planned by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) , and the
resulting Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA). It also asked to
be kept informed about the outcome of negotiations on the issue
of competence-based rather than time-served training.
The Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum
20.2 The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
at the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions
(Mr John Spellar) has now provided a Supplementary Explanatory
Memorandum, together with a report on the public consultation
exercise and a copy of the RIA. He tells us that the proposal
has been discussed at three meetings of the Transport Council
Working Group during the Swedish Presidency and four under the
Belgian Presidency. The Belgians are making the proposal one of
their priorities, and are hoping for political agreement on it
at the Council meeting on 6-7 December.
20.3 The Minister reports:
"In negotiations at
meetings of the European Transport Council Working Group, UK has
new drivers must be allowed the flexibility
to start initial training before holding a full licence;
new drivers taking initial training after
obtaining a full licence must be able to work in their profession;
the case for distinguishing between minimum
initial training (210 hrs) and full initial training (420 hrs)
had not been made a driver is either competent or not;
a competence-based approach to training is
preferable to a time-served approach.
any periodic retraining requirement should
support risk-management arrangements.
entering 5-yearly training codes on driving
licences implies 5-yearly licence renewals, which UK opposes.
once proposals were agreed, Member States
and industry would need at least a 5-year implementation period.
any European driver training requirement
should have regard to recent enhancements to European driving
test standards in Commission Directive 2000/56
the two syllabi overlap by over 60%. Also, it should be
considered alongside proposals in any Third European Directive
on driving licences, and social legislation relating to road transport."
20.4 The Minister further tells us that the following
improvements have so far been made to the proposals during discussions
in the Working Group:
training to start before obtaining a full driving licence.
allowing drivers holding full licences in
national vocational training schemes to work whilst completing
initial professional training.
more flexibility in how retraining could
be undertaken not just a single 1-week course.
exempting drivers from the professional training
requirements where EU law exempts them from having to hold a lorry
or bus driving licence.
applying the training provisions to drivers
holding non-EU driving licences working for EU operators.
more time to implement 4 years for
initial [passenger-carrying vehicles] PCV training, 5 years for
initial [large goods vehicles] LGV training, and 7 years for periodic
20.5 In relation to the public consultation exercise,
the Minister says:
"DSA received 75 written
replies, of which many were collective responses. The UK road
freight and passenger transport industries and other interested
parties have generally supported the aims of the Directive to
improve standards of lorry and bus drivers and to raise professionalism
within the road and passenger transport sectors. However, they
have expressed concerns about the rigidities and costs implied
by the proposals, the impact upon driver's shortages and that
the approach to training is at odds with the competence-based
approach that UK has adopted in vocational training generally
over recent years."
20.6 The Minister encloses a copy of the RIA,
which was originally prepared by DSA as part of the consultation
exercise and revised in the light of responses. (The Commission
itself has not produced a Business Impact Assessment to support
the draft Directive.) Besides discussing the possible costs to
the public sector, to goods and bus operators and to training
providers, the RIA notes that many professional drivers drive
very basic but essential service vehicles, such as road sweepers
and skip loaders. These jobs are well-suited for those with literacy
problems, but the kind of training prescribed in the draft Directive
could be a significant deterrent. The RIA also assesses the benefits
inherent in the draft Directive. It does not come to any overall
20.7 The Minister tells us that, generally, Member
States are positive about the aims of the draft Directive but
have major concerns about some aspects of the proposal, especially
the likely costs. The UK will continue to press its points, and
build partnerships with like-minded States to achieve a sensible
20.8 We thank the Minister for his helpful
Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum with its attachments.
20.9 Although the proposal has clearly been
improved in Working Group discussions, the Government does not
seem yet definitely to have won the day for a competence-based
rather than a time-served approach to training. Noting that respondents
to the consultation exercise also favoured a competence-based
approach, we urge the Government to continue to press for this,
and, generally, to press for an emphasis on standard-setting rather
than on prescribed methods of training delivery.
20.10 We are now content to clear the document,
but we ask to be kept informed of its progress.
61 Commission Directive 2000/56/EC, amending Council
Directive 91/439/EEC on driving licences. Back