The training of professional drivers, together with the other measures set at European, national and local level, contributed to a 37% reduction of road fatalities involving trucks between 2003 and 2010, despite a 15% increase of the circulating fleet.
Directive 2003/59/EC on the initial qualification and periodic training of trucks and buses' drivers entered into force on 10 September 2003. The goal of the Directive is to enhance road safety in Europe by ensuring a common level of training, and the achievement of the necessary skills and competences for professional drivers to drive their vehicles.
It establishes mandatory level of initial qualification and periodic training for professional drivers in the European Union. The training is organised by training centres approved by the Member States.
According to the report, despite the national differences among Member States in the application of the Directive, the homogeneity of the national training systems is guaranteed by a set of standard training criteria. Member States are allowed to implement the periodic training with regards to drivers holding "acquired rights" by 2015 for bus drivers, and by 2016 for truck drivers.
The report suggests a few specific issues which can improve the application of the Directive, such as raising the involvement of social partners, and enhance the cooperation between Member States. A list of national contact points will facilitate the cooperation between national administrations to handle, among others, the cases of drivers attending the periodic training abroad.
Moreover, the exchange of national timetables for periodic training should help overcoming any difficulty that enforcement authorities may face when checking drivers from abroad