Documents considered by the Committee on 1 March 2017 Contents
9Driver licences for carriage of goods or passengers
Not cleared, further information requested
Proposed Directive amending the 2003 and 2006 Directives on initial qualification and periodic training of drivers of certain road vehicles for the carriage of goods or passengers and on driving licences
Article 91(1)(c) TFEU, ordinary legislative procedure, QMV
(38499), 5671/17 + ADDs 1–4, COM(17) 47
Summary and Committee’s conclusions
9.1The 2003 Driver Certificate of Professional Competence Directive concerns the initial qualification and periodic training of professional drivers of lorries, buses and coaches of all sizes. A round of consultations in 2013 and 2014 identified four areas for further discussion and potential revision within the Directive: its relevance and scope, minimum age, structure of training, and quality assurance and mutual recognition of the training. The Commission has now proposed this amending Directive to reflect those discussions and update and clarify the four areas examined. It would also make consequential amendments to the Driving Licences Directive.
9.2The Government says that the amendments proposed are relatively minor and tells us of its views on them. These are mainly supportive, but on some amendments it needs Commission clarification.
9.3While we recognise that this proposal could usefully amend the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence Directive, we are holding it under scrutiny pending information from the Government about the Council negotiation of the issue. We wish particularly to hear about the clarifications the Government is seeking.
Full details of the document
Proposed Directive amending Directive 2003/59/EC on the initial qualification and periodic training of drivers of certain road vehicles for the carriage of goods or passengers and Directive 2006/126/EC on driving licences: (38499), 5671/17 + ADDs 1–4, COM(17) 47.
9.4Directive 2003/59/EC, known commonly known as the Driver CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) or DCPC Directive, concerns the initial qualification and periodic training of professional drivers of lorries, buses and coaches of all sizes. The Directive requires that all professional drivers of these vehicles must, in addition to their vocational driving licence, hold a DCPC qualification, obtained by undergoing an initial qualification and maintained by five-yearly periodic training totalling 35 hours. The qualification is evidenced either by a code on the driving licence or by the holding of a driver qualification card (DQC). The Directive also contained a number of exemptions from the scope of Directive (all of which the UK adopted).
9.5In 2013 the Commission undertook a consultation on the implementation and success of the DCPC Directive. There followed a stakeholder conference in Brussels in March 2014 with participants from the road haulage and passenger carrying transport sectors, training providers, and representative organisations from across all Member States. The consultation and conference concluded that the Directive had improved labour mobility and contributed to the free movement of drivers, but identified four areas for further discussion and potential revision within the original Directive:
- relevance and scope of the DCPC Directive;
- minimum age;
- structure of training; and
- quality assurance and mutual recognition of the training.
9.6The four areas were discussed by Member States representatives in subsequent working group meetings during 2014. The Commission’s proposed amending Directive is intended to reflect those discussions and update and clarify the four areas in the DCPC Directive by making the following amendments:
- Article 2 of the Directive, concerning exemptions—the amendment will result in a legislative change to update the current list of exemptions for drivers who do not have to hold a DCPC, contained in domestic DCPC Regulations (to reflect those in the Directive) to make them clearer and more consistent with exemptions from other EU legislation relating to road transport, notably, drivers’ hours legislation;
- Article 7 of the Directive, concerning periodic training—the amendment requires all drivers to include a session of road safety training in their 35-hour periodic training, and that the same training is not repeated within that period;
- Article 10 of the Directive, concerning the Union Code and mutual recognition of the driver qualification by either the code on a driving licence or the issue of a DQC—this amendment merely updates a reference to Directive 2006/126/EC (the Driving Licences Directive), where the DCPC code is prescribed as a harmonised code to go onto the driving licence if a driver holds a DCPC qualification;
- Annex I, Section 1 of the Directive, concerning minimum qualification and training requirements—this amendment updates references to outdated EU legislation and replaces them with references to the latest legislation. It further updates the content of the initial qualification syllabus by removing obsolete references to vehicle systems and technology and replacing them with references to the modern equivalents and allows for other training for the transport of dangerous goods, animal transport and disability awareness to count towards the overall DCPC training;
- Annex I, section 2 of the Directive, concerning minimum qualification and training requirements—this amendment allows for the use of e-learning tools to deliver DCPC training;
- Annex II of the Directive, concerning arrangements for the EU model for a DQC—this amendment merely replaces the word “communities” on the DQC with the word “Union”; and
- the Driving Licences Directive—this amendment, concerning categories, definitions and minimum ages, clarifies the minimum ages in the DCPC Directive for driving a lorry or a bus if a driver holds a DCPC qualification and the minimum ages in the Driver Licensing Directive for driving such vehicles if the driver does not hold a DCPC.
The Government’s view
9.7In the Government’s Explanatory Memorandum of 22 February the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Transport (Andrew Jones) first reiterates the Government’s standard mantra that, until Brexit negotiations are concluded, the UK remains a full member of the EU, all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force, during this period the Government will continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation, and the outcome of these negotiations will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in future once the UK has left the EU. He then says that the proposals are consistent with the measures originally identified through a public consultation in 2013 and subsequently refined through a stakeholder conference and working group meetings throughout 2014.
9.8The Minister says that the proposed amendments are relatively minor and that the Government’s views on them are as follows:
- the Government welcomes the update to the current list of exemptions for drivers who do not have to hold a DCPC, as they largely clarify that the Directive only applies to drivers operating in a professional capacity where driving is their main role;
- this is helpful as it clarifies that a number of Community Transport drivers and, in addition those who drive on behalf of charities, scout groups and schools, are not within scope of the requirements to hold a DCPC;
- in addition, the amendment introduces an additional exemption that would benefit small farmers and agricultural and forestry workers where driving is incidental to their main occupation;
- the amendment to periodic training to include an element of road safety training and preventing drivers repeating the same training course would not result in legislative change within the UK, but would be carried out through administrative procedures;
- within the UK, within the UK there is already, through an administrative arrangement, a requirement that training providers ensure that the DCPC training they deliver includes road safety elements—the Government therefore considers that this element would not involve any significant change;
- it does not, however, entirely agree with the second part of the amendment, that training “should not be repeated”—some stakeholders have previously expressed concerns about repeat training, however, other stakeholders have pointed out that in some cases remedial or refresher training is necessary to maintain the driver’s skills. The Government considers that a balance is needed, with some repeat training being reasonable;
- the amendment requiring the mutual recognition of the DCPC qualification and updating an obsolete reference to the Driver Licensing Directive where the DCPC code is prescribed as a harmonised code to go onto the driving licence if a driver holds a DCPC qualification would not have an impact upon the UK—the UK mutually recognises both a code on the driving licence and a DQC as evidence of the DCPC qualification;
- if an EU driver wishes to exchange their driving licence for a UK one, the driver will be issued with a DQC if their EU licence has a harmonised DCPC code on it;
- the Government welcomes the updating and mandating of some periodic training content and clarification of additional training that can count towards DCPC training;
- being able to count certain other training towards the overall total of DCPC training would be beneficial for the industry as this would prevent some duplication of training—while the Government would have liked this to go further, this minor change is welcome;
- stakeholders welcome the amendment to the minimum qualification and training requirements to allow for the use of e-learning tools to deliver DCPC training—the Government wishes, however, to clarify whether the Commission means use of e-learning from a personal computer or within a training centre;
- no UK impact is expected from the amendment to replace the word “communities” on the DQC with the word “Union”—given the lead in time for the Directive to be adopted (if agreed), the Government would plan to use up any existing stock of DQCs with the word “communities” on before the adoption date to avoid any cost and the change would be scheduled in with any other refresher changes, again, to avoid cost; and
- the amendment clarifying the minimum ages in the DCPC Directive for driving a lorry or a bus if a driver holds a DCPC qualification and the minimum ages in the Driver Licences Directive for driving such vehicles if the driver does not hold a DCPC would have no material effect upon UK drivers or industry—the minimum ages given in the amendments are what the UK has understood to be the case since the transposition of the DCPC Directive in 2007 and has applied since that time.
9.9The Minister tells us that:
- UK stakeholders responded individually to the Commission’s 2013 public consultation;
- however, to inform the Government’s response, the Department for Transport and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) held a stakeholder event on 1 October 2013;
- representatives from trade associations for the road haulage and passenger carrying sectors took part, as did individual operator representatives, training providers and others with an interest in DCPC;
- the views gathered during that consultation support the majority of the provisions in the Commission’s proposal, especially concerning clarity of the scope of the Directive and therefore the exemptions;
- however, some stakeholders did want to press for more flexibility regarding periodic training periods and were not in favour of mandating any periodic training content;
- the Government supported the view of not mandating periodic training content as it considers that the whole point of the periodic training is for it to be flexible to cater to the needs of the individual driver and the employer; and
- on 7 February 2017, the DVSA issued a short public consultation survey on the proposals to inform negotiations and the survey will also gather views from stakeholders within Northern Ireland.
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