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Driven off the road

PUBLISHED: 17:03 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:49 23 August 2010

A HAULAGE boss fears some drivers will quit due to new compulsory tests. Len Vasler, head of LV Transport based in Norfolk Road, Gravesend, said plans for new Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) tests have been badly received by the bulk of his

A HAULAGE boss fears some drivers will quit due to new compulsory tests.

Len Vasler, head of LV Transport based in Norfolk Road, Gravesend, said plans for new Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) tests have been badly received by the bulk of his workforce.

The new tests will be compulsory for all commercial drivers from September 2009, and September this year for bus and coach drivers.

They require drivers to sit 35 hours of training relating to improved driving efficiency and safety, with new regulations and tachograph competence governing driver hours.

Mr Vasler said: "This is complete codswallop, yet another layer of red tape and another cost on top of fuel bills and other charges.

"If somebody is going to tell my drivers how to drive after 20 to 30 years they will pack up and leave.

"They already know about the rules and regulations and are trained to drive efficiently. We are painfully aware of how much fuel costs. It's a classic case of some government jobsworth telling people how to do a job they already know."

He said more resources should be spent on making sure foreign hauliers are held accountable for millions of pounds of damage caused to other road users every year.

Mr Vasler said: "They leave scenes of accidents, and are notorious for side-swiping other vehicles because they are left-hand drive. There are already problems policing our roads from this menace. How can we be sure that foreign lorry drivers will have their CPCs?"

He said new exams should be incorporated into the HGV class 1 tests being sat by young, unqualified drivers.

David Shepherd, Driving Standards Agency project manager for CPCs, said: "These tests will help reduce accidents and relieve the congestion that they create.

"They require an investment from companies but they will see savings in fuel bills."

He said the agency is working closely with the Freight Transport Association and Road Haulage Association to help introduce the project as smoothly as possible. Firms will have five years to meet the new regulations.

A spokesman for Arriva said it will stagger the training over a five-year period for drivers.

Jim Halford, of London Road, Swanley, who drives for another bus firm, said: "I can't afford to pay for the training so I could be forced out of a job.

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