Wednesday, 27 July 2016

B+E Car and Trailer Licence- Do I need it?

'You are supposed to do another test for you to tow a trailer? Really?'

'I don't need a trailer licence as I am over 40'

'It is only a small trailer, so what does it matter?'

These are a few of the comments that regularly come up when people talk to me about getting the category B+E on their drivers licence. So in this post I am hoping to clear up a few of the confusions, myths and wishful thoughts that may or may not be wrong with regard with one's right to pull a trailer.

First off, and this is the key one, you are not required to take a Trailer Test if you passed your normal driving test before the 1st of January 1997. So good news if you did, bad news if you didn't. If you are unsure when you passed your test, you can find out your pass date on the back of your plastic driver's licence.

So what does the B+E category entitle you to drive/pull? Officially it entitles to drive any vehicle up to a Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of 3.5 tonnes (so a large transit van, for example) with a trailer that exceeds a 750kg MAM. You can tow a trailer with a lower MAM than 750kg on your regular car licence.

An issued that sometimes will come up here is that people assume that if the combination of the car and the trailer is less than 3.5 tonnes MAM then they can drive without a Trailer Licence. THIS IS FALSE! And just to repeat myself, if you want to tow anything over 750kg you will need the B+E entitlement.

The test itself is relatively straight forward, with a 45 minute drive, a reversing manoeuvre and a demonstration to show that you can couple and uncouple the trailer safely. If you require any more information then please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Changes afoot with Driver CPC?

So we have done it, gone and left the European Union, they say no man is an island and here on Great Britain we are going to try to prove that wrong. No longer are we bound by Brussels and no longer do we have to adhere to their red tape and rules- and as some people have suggested to me, this could spell the end of the Driver CPC, could it not?

This EUROPEAN UNION directive has been enforced (kind of) in the UK since 2009. The eagle-eyed amongst you will also have noticed that Drivers' Hours rules are EC regulations and that the Working Time Directive for mobile workers is in fact 'EC Regulation 561/2006' (both sets of rules seem to be a real essential when it comes to many CPC courses). But, of course, we are no longer part of the EU/EC, so could Britain now alter, amend and do away with Driver CPC and thus replace it with it's own laws?

Lets look at some of the logistics of leaving the EU: First off, the referendum has given the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to enact article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to begin the process of leaving the European Union. David Cameron (soon to be former PM) has decided not too do this himself, but to pass the dubious responsibility onto the next PM. Enabling article 50 then gives the UK a full 2 years (that is 24 months/ 104 weeks/730 days) to exit the European Union. At the time of exit, June 2016, a further 2 years would take us onto June 2018. Assuming then, that Article 50 is carried out by October (Cameron's suggested date of departure, in line with the annual Tory Conference) this will then take us onto October 2018 before we could be outside of the EU.

Of course, the next Driver CPC deadline is.... September 2019. So should we bother?

Looking at it analytically, I would say that it is near on certainty that Driver CPC will remain relevant until at least the end of this cycle (until 2019). On the list of 'things to do' that will be pinned up in the PM's office, transport and driver legislation would fall pretty low down on that, and also there is a general feeling within the powers that be, that Driver CPC works pretty well as it is. For more information please see:

One theory that could well come through is that less companies will renew their entitlement to carry out training due to some uncertainty- the knock on effect of this could be that in 2019 when nothing has changed, demand will be high and prices will soar up. So maybe the prudent operator, driver and transport managers amongst you will continue to carry on with driver CPC as normal?

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Transport Industry, the UK and the EU

Its the morning of Friday the 24th of June, 2016 and the UK is waking up to the news that their membership in the European Union is no more, as a majority of British votes gets us out of the EU.

So what would this mean to the Transport Industry? Less red tape, freedom from European Rulings and the end of the dreaded Driver CPC courses? Or would it actually cause more problems than it prevents and place new uncertainty over the industry?

In practice what would it mean? A lot of the call for leaving the EU comes from preventing European Workers travelling over to the UK. This would surely put immense pressure on the industry that is already importing Eastern European Drivers in their 1000s to come over and plug the ever growing skills gap in Road Haulage. Now, it is likely that it will be only restrictions that are put in place, but this could still cause problems in efficiencies of plugging the skills gap.

What about Driver CPC then? Will we be rid of it completely? 'No' is the probable answer to that, as explained in this piece from Commercial Motor:

"Our transport regime is far more onerous than any other European Country... we are getting it right and its unfortunate other European countries are't as rigorous" 

and on the O Licence:

"EC Regulation 1071/2009 underpins the Standard O-Licence, but would the UK abandon its fundamentals and repeal the UK Legislation, e.g. shedding the need for formally qualified transport managers? There would surely be a continuation of a pretty similar model"

And how quickly does everything happen? At least two years, some estimate, as negotiations over agreements between EU and Non-EU countries take place. This could be a difficult and slow procedure that means the Laws regarding CPC, until 2019 at least, don't go anywhere. Especially as European countries are likely to want the same rules governing British Hauliers as govern their own.

There seems little doubt the exiting the EU remains popular amongst many hauliers, but ultimately it will require a lot of research from the individual businesses over this wide-ranging industry. I think we can safely say that there is likely to be a step backward in 'red tape' legislation, it is just a bureaucratic thing that government loves, it is likely that it will only be some tweaking. The skills-gap is where the real worry could lie for  the industry.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The secret to effective CPC Training

Not a working day goes by where I don't speak to somebody who has a distinctly negative attitude towards CPC training and their business. Why?

  • 'What a waste of time, most of it isn't relevant'
This is a comment I hear over and over again, drivers sit there bored and learn about stuff that's not remotely relevant to their work.

Companies will pay their fees (£40-£100) a head and send their drivers of two 7 hours of lectures on the do's and don'ts  driver hours, Tachograph Updates, rules for driving abroad  and the intimate details of rules regarding a ferry crossing. Useful? In parts- but generally the detail they go into is way too much. For example, what Timber merchant in Leicestershire needs to know about split working rest!?

What companies are not told, by training providers or the government, is that there is a way to make CPC work for them- yes you can reap the full benefits of CPC training and have 7 hours that are useful to you and your business! For example, did you know the syllabus contains allowances for Improving Company Image and Promoting Company Policy? Likewise, did you know that a course can be easily altered and devised in way that it can specifically relate to your industry? Whether that be Aggregates, Agricultural, Timber, Construction or anything else, courses can be designed to fit a company's or industry's need.

So instead of looking at CPC in a negative way, there is now an opportunity to make it work for you, so that you can really see the benefit to your workers and your company. 

For any more information on specially designed CPC Courses then drop me an email at