TC talk: transport manager refresher training

Road Safety Week: 19-25 November

Today, in our final bulletin for road safety week, West Midlands Traffic Commissioner Nick Denton talks about the importance of refresher training for transport managers. He passed his CPC examination five years ago and decided it was time to update his knowledge.

TC talk: transport manager refresher training

Traffic Commissioner Nick Denton reflects on his TM refresher training

Nick Denton

I've lost count of the number of times I’ve pointed out to CPC holders that they’ve done no refresher training since qualifying – often decades ago.

If you were told a pilot last received training in 1978, you wouldn’t get on the aircraft.

Neither would I.

It’s why traffic commissioners have no confidence in TMs who don’t do anything to keep themselves up to date. They’re usually stuck in the same decade as our untrained airline pilot.

Drivers now have to attend training every five years, so why not transport managers?

A lot can happen in five years

Since 2013, for example, DVSA’s Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness has been updated twice, penalties for mobile phone use have doubled and the use of AdBlue emulators has emerged.

So keeping up to date is absolutely vital. That’s why I decided to do my refresher training, almost five years after getting my CPC. I also want to practise what I preach to the industry. 

Back to class

It was a bit of a dreary day outside when the course came around in Slough last month but I’m pleased to say that, inside, RHA trainer John Davis kept our interest and energy levels high.

He drew on the experiences and problems of everyone on the course, used anecdotes from his long and colourful history as a driver/operator and gave us practical examples to illustrate the theory.

It was a bit of a surprise to my fellow attendees that they’d been joined by a Traffic Commissioner but we were able to benefit from each other’s experience.

I gained an insight into some of the practical day-to-day problems faced by TMs and the fact that it’s not always clear cut what they should do. I was able to give them some insight into the kind of mistakes which bring TMs to public inquiries and how to avoid them.

End of the road

Before we knew it, it was five o’clock on day two and time to go home. But I was pleased to depart with the comments of one TM in my mind. He attended a refresher course every year because it provided useful insurance in keeping up to date and confirming that he’s doing things right.

Most TMs probably won’t be able to attend annually. But it definitely shouldn’t be longer than five years. No matter how expert you think you are, there’ll always be something you don’t know.

The Senior Traffic Commissioner’s recently revised guidance features a new section on TM continuous professional development.