The head of the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has issued a direct appeal to fleet operators to make their voice heard on radical proposals to overhaul driver training in the UK.
DSA chief executive Rosemary Thew spoke out during a national consultation tour to engage with those affected by the proposals, which will see the complete overhaul of the driving test and the introduction of ‘lifelong learning’ for at-work drivers.
The tour and consultation, which ends on October 6, is mainly focused on proposals for new drivers, but also includes radical proposals for at-work driver qualifications.
Ms Thew said all the changes affected employers and they needed to get involved in the process.
“We want businesses to be involved because of concerns they have raised about the competence of new drivers on the roads.
"We have found that some employers are concerned about the driving abilities of employees who have just gone through the current driving test process,” she said.
“The proposals are mainly focused on new drivers, but there are proposals for post-test training as well.
“With these training programmes, there are pockets of best practice around the country, but there is nothing provided on a national basis.”
The consultation admitted the current system was letting down British business.
“The basic licence standard should reflect employers’ needs better.
"Employers want their drivers to be safe, to protect their assets and minimise insurance costs. We want to support employers who train their drivers,” it said.
“We are keen to offer a qualification for those who are interested in driving for work.
"We would want this qualification to be recognised as being of real value, indicating a high standard of driving which makes a person a real asset to any potential employer.”
However, Ms Thew said it was far too early to provide any indication on where funding for any programmes would come from and who would pay for at-work training, amid fears that it could create additional costs for companies.
She added: “We are right at the start of this process and there are 4,000 responses to consider before any recommendations are made to ministers.”
Fleets wishing to view the proposals and comment to the microsite at http://dsa.gov.uk/learningtodrive