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The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) recently voiced its concern over safety issues regarding drivers in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) category. Unfortunately, they also drew some conclusions that seem a bit suspect. In an attempt to explain a higher than average accident rate among van drivers, the agency has attempted to link it to a migration of HGV drivers to LCV employment.

How the agency makes that connection is not clear. However, they cite evidence that seems to be contrary to their assertions. For example, they correctly state that the first time MoT failure rate among LCV drivers is 50%.; for HGV drivers it is 5%. That would seem to indicate that HGV drivers migrating to the LCV environment would improve safety within the sector, not make it worse.

Furthermore, the VOSA says the number of accidents involving vans run at about 13,000 annually. That’s double the rate of HGVs. According to the agency’s own words, the tight licensing and operational restrictions imposed on the HGV sector have ensured both compliance and safety improvements over the years. Those same stringent requirements do not apply to the LCV sector.

Perhaps the real disparity is not found in the fact that HGV drivers are migrating to the less restrictive LCV sector. Perhaps it is simply because van-driving training is not as comprehensive because the law does not require it. In fact, that is the most likely reason.

Driver Training Still Important

The VOSA pointed out in their remarks that as many as 75% of all commercial vans are overloaded. The agency says that self-regulation and education among drivers is what is needed to solve problems like this. We would agree. That’s why the HGV Training Centre offers van driving training courses.

Every commercial vehicle on the road has a greater potential for accidents because of the addition of cargo and drivers under pressure to get their job done. The best way to mitigate the higher risk is through proper training and education. The training includes general highway safety and the principles necessary to operate specific types of vehicle safely.

The licensing requirements for HGV and LCV drivers are different. The HGV Training Centre is competent in both. We provide comprehensive training for a variety of vehicles and licenses, for both independent drivers and companies. With more than 45 facilities around the country, we are the leading source for commercial driver training in the UK.

One final note for our regular readers: if you are a PCV operator or driver, you now only have a few months to complete CPC training in order to remain licensed. The situation is now urgent. If you need to begin CPC driver training please get in touch with us right away so we can get you going.

If you miss the September deadline, it will be a problem. The government has already suspended one PCV operator; they will not hesitate at all to issue more suspensions.


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