Over the last 12 or so months, one of the biggest topics on everyone’s lips has been ‘Brexit’. It’s been just over a year since the UK voted to leave the EU, and since then it has been a lot of turmoil. But while the bigger issues have been discussed, dissected and rehashed a thousand different ways, some of the smaller impacts that Brexit could have have been left by the wayside. Among these are those that may affect the UK haulage industry – a pillar of our UK economy and one of the things holding up millions of businesses across the country.
HGV Drivers Hours
Being able to restrict how many hours a professional driver can be on the road might be one of the best things the EU has ever done for the UK. Driving is a mentally and physically exhausting activity, especially when done for extended periods of time. Because more accidents and deaths are caused by driving tired than driving drunk, it can be very dangerous to work longer than recommended. That’s why the EU stopped recommending and started enforcing. The EU Driver’s Hours’ Rules apply to both goods and passenger vehicles and are designed to provide a minimum safety standard for all professional HGV drivers. Among the things they govern are:
- Maximum hours worked in a day
- Frequency of rest break
- Maximum hours worked in a week
- Minimum length of rest break
- Maximum hours worked in 2 consecutive weeks
Overall, general rules to ensure the safety and alertness of the driver. In fact, the UK government thought these were such good rules that they turned them into a law, using the UK Transport Act 1968. So because this EU directive has now become UK law (as many of them have), we will not loose these rules if we leave the EU. What might happen though, is that the Working Time Directive (which comes under this act) may be amended slightly when it comes p for review in the near future. However, the most likely changes will be the consolidation and calculation of holiday time and the shortening of the 48 hour work week.
Is This The End Of The Driver CPC?
Yes and no really. It depends on where you will be driving your HGV. You see, all HGV drivers at the moment have to take and pass the Driver CPC exam in order to be able to legally drive in any EU country – which includes Britain at the moment. If you don’t hold this qualification, you can’t be legally employed as an HGV driver, or drive an HGV professionally. So this means 1 of 2 things for haulage firms in the UK;
- You drive into, out of or through a European country in the process of your deliveries. This means that your drivers will still need to hold a valid Driver CPC at all times because while they are driving on EU roads, they are bound to follow their directives, even if your home country isn’t a member.
- You don’t drive HGV’s outside of Britain, or if you do you do not ever go into EU territory, even as brief passage on your route to a no-EU country. In this case, you would not need to hold a Driver CPC at all.
For most drivers, they will probably opt to take the Driver CPC anyway, as it gives them wider employment options if Brexit were to happen. But there have been talks for a while now about the possibility of a British professional HGV driving standard – one that offers all of the benefits of ensuring HGV drivers are all at the same standard of ability and training, without such heavy administrative and upkeep constraints.
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.