Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, you will have heard all about Brexit, along with many theories about how leaving the EU will affect our country. From the economy down to how we will trade with EU countries fairly, over the last 12 months the issue has been dissected more thoroughly than a secondary school biology class frog. But what hasn’t had much attention is the impact Brexit might have on our haulage industry, who’s rules and regulations primarily come from EU directives. These regulations keep us and other motorists safe and qualified to drive heavy goods vehicles – so what will leaving the EU mean for our safety?
One of the main things that might change in future years is the way drivers become qualified to drive HGV’s. At the moment, an EU directive means that anyone who drives an HGV in Europe has to have taken, and passed, the basic Driver CPC, or certificate of professional competence. If you don’t hold this qualification, you can’t legally drive any HGV professionally. And for companies who deliver internationally into or through Europe, this will not change – as Europe will still require all professional HGV drivers that use its roads to hold this qualification. The changes may come with domestic only delivery companies, who never drive outside of the UK, or inside a European country. For these companies, there will be no rules that state you must hold a Driver CPC. Now, we’re not saying that the idea of a professional HGV driving test and qualification will be scrapped altogether. What’s more likely to happen is that a UK based qualification will be developed on the bones of the Driver CPC.
There have been some rumblings about the loss of the EU Driver’s Hours Rules, which are designed to ensure a minimum safety standard and maximum driving time for professional drivers of both passenger and good vehicles. These regulations also govern the length and frequency of rest stops, the length of time between shifts. These rules are all designed to keep HGV drivers and other motorists safe on the road and to ensure no professional driver is forced to drive tired (which claims more lives every year than drink driving) by their employer. Overall, these are very good rules and they are what keep our roads safe. So the good news is that even if we leave the EU, these rules won’t go away. Because they are such sensible and valuable rules, UK government commuted the EU directive into UK law, with the UK Transport Act 1968. So no matter what, the work driving hours of professional HGV drivers will remain the same. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the Working Time Directive, which will affect HGV drivers, is up for review in the very near future. With so many new policies up in the air, it is uncertain exactly when this will be reviewed, but we can expect some changes, such as the consolidation of holiday and length of the maximum working week, to be made to the base regulations then.
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.