Fleet News

Driver training will not be compulsory: Government

THE Government has confirmed in writing that it has no plans to make driver training compulsory for company car and van drivers.

But it has hinted that it may introduce legal limits to the number of hours that fleet drivers can occupy behind the wheel.

The issue of working conditions for company car and van drivers came under the parliamentary spotlight as transport minister David Jamieson fielded a series of questions by MP Bob Russell.

Russell, Liberal Democrat member for Colchester, wants to highlight the risks posed by allowing or encouraging fleet drivers to cover excessive distances without breaks, or spend too long behind the wheel.

He claims that while legislation has been introduced to govern drivers of heavy lorries and buses or coaches, there are no legal limits for the length of time other motorists can drive uninterrupted.

In written answers to Russell's questions on the involvement of fleet drivers in road crashes, Transport Minister David Jamieson revealed that there are no plans to introduce compulsory training for car and van drivers. However, he did hint that there was a chance of limiting the hours of van drivers if the UK adopted draft European proposals for goods vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes currently out to consultation.

Russell told Fleet News: 'It might satisfy company accountants if more pressure is put on company car and van drivers to cover greater distances but it is not only irresponsible, but also not financially sensible.

'Industries like mining, farming and fishing all have to make sure they adhere to work safety legislation.

'It would appear that there is nothing to control the abuse which some commercial fleet operators could be carrying out in expecting their workforce to drive for long hours travelling extensive distances.'

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