If you live in the UK, it’s probably safe to say you’ve heard a lot about Brexit over the past year. The subject of Britain’s potential exit from the EU has caused a lot of heated debate, and we have no intention of getting involved in the political side of things. This post is not about politics at all, or whether we should or shouldn’t leave the EU. Instead, it’s about the effect that leaving the EU would have on our professional driving regulations, specifically around the safety of HGV drivers. In this area, there are 2 key things to focus on.
The main set of regulations that come down from the EU is Driver Hour’s Rules, which dictate everything to do with hours worked, breaks and time on the clock in general. They govern the length of time between rest stops, how frequent they are and how long they take. They define the difference between a rest stop and a break, how many hours a driver is allowed to stay on the road and how each weeks driving time should break down. This applies to all heavy goods vehicles, passenger or goods vehicles. They were designed to keep the drivers, and other motorists safe on the road, as driving tired is one of the leading causes of driving fatalities in the UK (even higher than drink driving). And because these rules are so good, they were accepted by the UK government and made law in 1968 with the introduction of the UK Transport Act. So we will not see any changes to these rules if we leave the EU. What is worth considering though, is that the Working Time Directive, which compliments the UK Transport Act, is up for review and possible change very soon, so we might still see some reforms from this angle.
Another big thing to consider is the Driver CPC qualification, which is currently mandated to any professional HGV driver that works or drives in a European country. By EU directive, all professional HGV drivers must hold this qualification in order to legally drive. And if your firm drives HGV’s to or through a European country, you will still have to take and hold this qualification, so that much won’t change. But for domestic haulage firms who don’t travel outside the UK, or only to no-EU countries, this could mean that drivers no longer have to abide by the rigid Driver CPC rules. The idea of a professional certification for HGV drivers isn’t likely to go away completely but instead, there may be a UK alternative, based on the bones of the Driver CP, that is more fitting to UK HGV drivers needs.
Of course, Brexit won’t just affect the HGV industry. There are certain EU regulations that affect the ordinary vehicle driver too, and these will change or disappear entirely. To name just a few, fuel prices will likely increase, insurance premiums will shoot up along with moving to a more specific and selective insurance platform, and car purchase prices will go up thanks to additional import charges for a non-EU country. The good news is that you will still be able to use your standard license abroad when travelling or delivering, so you won’t need to take additional tests for an EU license. However, if you are a Brit living abroad for over 12 months, you may run into trouble and be required to hold an EU license as well. For more information, or to keep up with the latest HGV career and training developments, get in touch with the team today.