Changes to Driver CPC exemptions to come in this month

The DfT is to further relax exemptions to the Driver CPC rules for those whose main activity does not require driving an HGV, bringing the UK into line with EU regulations.

The amended regulations also allow drivers to use a truck with an automatic gearbox when taking a Driver CPC practical test, and will come into effect on 25 January.

The DfT is extending the radius a vehicle can be driven without the driver holding a Driver CPC from 50km to 100km, provided the vehicle is unladen and is driven by a person who only drives trucks from “time to time”, such as a valet or mechanic. This aligns UK law with the EU, which introduced the increased distance limit in 2014.

Since 2013 such drivers have been exempt from the requirement to hold a Driver CPC, provided they drive the vehicle no more than 50km and carry only the equipment needed to carry out their work. The DfT said this limit was originally selected to be consistent with the exemption from drivers' hours rules, but this was extended to 100km last March.

The requirement for vehicles used in a Driver CPC practical test to have a minimum of eight forward gears has also been removed by the amendment, which was laid before parliament in December.

Since January 2014 learner drivers have been able to take their practical driving test in an automatic vehicle.

Concrete company fined after worker struck by sideloader

A concrete panel manufacturer has been ordered to pay £28,579 in fines and costs after a worker was knocked off a vehicle by a sideloader while loading at its premises.

In August 2014, a subcontractor working for Langar, Nottinghamshire-based Unbrako Precast Concrete suffered a broken collar bone, fractures to both shoulders, and two broken ribs when he fell while loading freestanding concrete units onto his vehicle.

The unnamed man was unscrewing a lifting shackle from the top of the concrete units when an attachment fell off the forks of the sideloader. It struck him and he fell from the trailer.

In a hearing on 23 December, Nottingham Magistrates’ Court was told that the company did not conduct an adequate risk assessment and had not put a safe system of work in place.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said he should not have been near the moving sideloader or the back of the trailer.

Unbrako Precast Concrete, based at Southfields Business Park, Harby Road, Langar, was fined £26,000 and must pay costs of £2,579 after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety regulations.

The concrete business holds two O-licences authorising up to five vehicles and six trailers across two operating centres.