Meeting EU driver training requirements is a ‘major concern’, second only to rising fuel costs, for nearly half of Freight Transport Association members, the association has reported.
By September 2014 all lorry drivers in Europe must have completed 35 hours of training in compliance with Driver Certificate of Professional Competence.
The DCPC was introduced over two years ago, but industry concerns – including an annual driver employment churn in some sectors of up to 20 per cent – have made industry reluctant to invest in this compulsory training.
Isobel Harding, FTA’s national training manager, said: “While awareness of these training obligations is high, there is a manifest reluctance from industry to invest in training drivers when there is a good chance that by the time the deadline comes around those same drivers might be working elsewhere.
“But this approach could leave many companies twisting in the wind as the deadline approaches and demand for good value and meaningful training outstrips supply.”
Latest figures from the Driving Standards Agency show that the number of qualified HGV drivers could be well short of the 35 hours mark approaching the 2014 deadline.
Harding said: “The current gap of five million training hours is getting worse and we predict there could be as much as a 30 per cent shortfall in the number of legally qualified drivers of heavy goods vehicles before 2014.
“Should this happen, the impact on the UK economy could be devastating, with a downturn in productivity coupled with loss of sales for many millions of businesses that depend on road haulage.”