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Fleet management and driving at work during coronavirus (COVID-19)

The below advice has been produced to assist operators in the logistics industry to understand some of the regulatory changes within the industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

The UK Government and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have introduced some regulatory changes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, highlighting some additional hazards and risks that need to be considered by business owners.

As lockdown is easing across the UK, a lot of changes are often referred to as a “relaxation of the rule” – however, this is misleading as new rules are still clearly defined and subject to regulatory enforcement. It is therefore important to make sure your existing fleet operating procedures are reviewed and revised to take into account the current Government-issued changes.

If you are unsure about any new rules or regulatory changes in your industry, please contact us to arrange a full risk management review of your operation.

BHIB Client Services Director Mark Taylor said:

“Here at BHIB we remain committed to working with all of our Transport and Logistics clients, providing professional help and advice on all areas of fleet risk management.”

HGV lorries parked

 

Changes to drivers’ hours have been withdrawn

At the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, the UK Government issued a temporary and limited relaxation of the rules around drivers’ hours in England, Scotland and Wales. The changes were introduced from 23 March 2020 and extended until 31 March 2020, and then again up to 14 June 2020.

This temporary relaxation of the enforcement of drivers’ hours was withdrawn on 25 June 2020 and is no longer in effect. To learn more about your regulatory requirements regarding drivers’ hours and how to request a temporary relaxation, visit:

 

Vehicle inspection requirements

From 21 March 2020 the DVSA suspended the testing of all Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), trailers and Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) for up to three months. This means your HGV, bus or trailer will automatically get a 3-month MOT exemption from the date it was originally due.

Vehicles and trailers originally due an MOT:

  • in March or April 2020 have been given two 3-month exemptions
  • in May, June, July or August 2020 will only get one 3-month exemption

Cars, vans and motorcycles due an MOT from 30 March 2020 have an automatic six-month extension. However, companies must make sure that vehicles are maintained in line with manufacturer requirements and remain roadworthy during this time.

For more information on this, read our previous guides:

 

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)

The Department of Transport has implemented temporary changes to professional drivers’ qualification requirements, as attending training may not currently be possible for everyone.

Most professional lorry and bus drivers are required to complete 35 hours of periodic training every five years to maintain their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification. This is evidenced by a Driver CPC card – sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card’ or ‘DQC’.

Drivers whose CPC card expires in the period between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 can continue driving and should carry their expired CPC card if they have it. If the expiry date on your card is in this period, you should add seven months to that date to calculate the new expiry date.

 

Driver medicals

The Government has also made temporary provisions for lorry and bus drivers aged over 45 to forego the need for a D4 medical when renewing their driving entitlement. This change is temporary and will only apply to those whose licence has not expired prior to 1 January 2020.

The licence will now only be valid for one year rather than five years and the driver is required to submit a completed D4 form when the licence is due for renewal in 12 months. If a driver has health issues then these still need to be declared and those with health problems that prevent them from driving safely will not have their licence renewed.

The current guidance regarding driving licences with a medical condition is that, providing the driver has a current driving licence and has not been advised by a doctor or optician not to drive, then they are able to drive while the DVLA considers the application.

 

Carriage of dangerous goods training

The validity of ADR driver training certificates that are due to expire between 1 March 2020 and 1 November 2020 will now remain valid until 30 November 2020. Also, this extension applies to holders of a dangerous goods safety advisor (DGSA) certificate.

More information on this can be found here.

For further help on how to reopen your business and begin trading again safely following COVID-19, we have made two risk assessment documents available to download for free: