Have you been worrying about Brexit? I know I have. But maybe not for the same reasons you are. You see in all of the endless debates that have gone on for over a year now and have resurfaced in the face of negotiations starting, many things have been dissected and discussed. And many things haven’t. The fact is there are so many different implications of Brexit that it would be impossible to predict and discuss them all, so many have focussed on the wider issues instead. But as HGV professionals, we have of course been paying close attention to what might happen in our industry.
Working Hours Worries
Let’s start with a simple one – but one we’ve been getting a lot of questions about from our drivers. At the moment, the amount of hours a driver can work at one time, along with when they can take breaks and how long they have to be, and how many hours they can work in a week and a fortnight are all governed by the EU Drivers Hours Rules, which apply to both goods and passenger vehicles. This is a directive from the EU, and it is designed to ensure a minimum safety standard and maximum driving time for all professional motorists. Because driving for long periods is mentally and physically exhausting, it is important that HGV drivers are not driving tired (which causes more deaths a year than drink driving), the EU thought it was important to have a directive that managed that. And so did the UK government, because they commuted the directive into UK law with the UK Transport Act 1968. So as far as general working hours goes, there will be no changes from Brexit. There may, however, be some changes from a review of the UK Working Time Directive, which is coming up for review soon.
Another important thing all HGV drivers must do before they can legally work in the industry is complete a Driver CPC qualification. This stands for Certificate of Professional Competence and means that the driver has met the safety and knowledge standards for the EU directive that drive it. If you don’t have a Driver CPC, you can’t drive HGV’s in the UK or Europe. Period. And the good news (or bad, depending on your views) is that for any driver who will be travelling into, out of or through any European country, that won’t change. You still need the qualification to drive in Europe, even if it isn’t your home country. The loss of this rule only really affects British domestic haulage firms or those who don’t service Europe at all. For them, there are talks of developing a UK alternative to the Driver CPC – one that is potentially not as prescriptive when it comes to medical reports and extra training.
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.