HGV driver training: DVSA make vulnerable road user change

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced an update to its HGV driver training programme.

Questions have been added in the theory test to cover the correct use of Class VI mirrors and recommending that Safe Urban Driving and Vulnerable Road User Awareness courses be undertaken by all drivers as part of their CPC training.

The decision was in response to a call for action from the Senior Coroner for Norfolk, Jacqueline Lake, following an inquest into the death of an 82-year-old man in Attleborough in 2017. Dudley Howe was hit by a lorry which crept forward as he walked through stationary, queuing traffic, but could not be seen from the vehicle’s cab.

Driver training provider Fleet Source has welcomed the decision on vulnerable road user (VRU) training. CEO Nick Caesari said: “The DVSA’s decision to recommend SUD and VRU courses as part of driver CPC training is a vital step forward, but we want them to go further.

“We’re passionate about saving lives and have long been calling for every professional driver to undertake a mandatory seven hours VRU training as part of the 35 hours they need to complete every five years. Now is the time to make that change.”

Social distancing measures have drastically reduced the capacity of public transport and Government is urging commuters and business travellers to walk or cycle instead.

Last month, it launched a £2 billion package to encourage alternative ways to travel, with an initial £250 million being released to create cycle and bus-only corridors within weeks.

Cesari said: “Post lockdown, commuters will be looking for alternatives to public transport and we are all being encouraged to walk or cycle where we can.

“There has never been a more important time to ensure that commercial drivers are equipped with the awareness and skills to identify and predict hazards and hazardous situations in relation to vulnerable road users.”

Nick Simmons, CEO of road crash victims charity RoadPeace, concluded: “Too often, a crash or incident results in tragic, life-changing consequences which adversely affect everyone involved.

“Our members feel strongly that all HGV vehicles need to be operated by their owners and drivers to the highest possible standards of road danger reduction. VRU training must become a legal requirement.”

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