|Traffic police examine a trailer truck driver's license. Cargo transport associations have asked the Ministry of Transport to lower the criteria needed to apply for FC driver licenses to deal with the nation's driver shortage. — Photo www.atgt.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Cargo transport associations have asked the Ministry of Transport to lower the criteria needed to apply for an FC driving license for trailer truck drivers. Many drivers have failed to meet the requirements, thereby causing a serious shortage of drivers nation-wide.
According to the associations, the Ministry of Transport's requirements for upgrading class C,D and E licences (normal automobile licences) to a class FC (for trailer truck drivers) are too hard for drivers to meet.
In order for a driver to upgrade they must be 24 year old, have at least three years of driving experience and demonstrate 50,000 kilometres of safe driving.
The criteria is difficult for most Vietnamese drivers, therefore many do not qualify to apply for it.
Bui Van Quan, chairman of HCM City's Cargo Transport Association said that the ministry's campaign to regulate and check truck weight forced local truck companies to replace trailer trucks with container trucks to handle the heavy cargo loads.
He also said that demand for truck transport is increasing. This combination of factors means there are more trailer trucks but not enough drivers who have FC licences.
Chairman of Hai Phong City's Cargo Transport Association, Le Van Tien, said the number of trailer trucks in Hai Phong City increased by 20 per cent so far this year. The campaign to manage weight loads on trucks has pushed enterprises to mobilise 30 trucks instead of 20 trucks to transport the same amount of cargo.
Thus, he said, most of 100 trucking companies in the city face a shortage of drivers.
The associations proposed that the ministry make the number of years of work experience just one year and reduce the safe driving requirement to 15,000 km. This, they believe, would considerably expand the pool of drivers eligible for FC licences.
Quan said many transport enterprises already hire disqualified drivers or those with counterfeit licences to assure they can continue operating. This, many believe, is responsible for the recent increase in accidents.
Figures from the National Steering Committee of Traffic Safety showed that more than 20 container truck-related accidents occurred this year; there were only nine accidents in all of last year.
Earlier this month, five people, three of which were overseas Vietnamese, died at the intersection of National Highway 1A and Linh Trung Processing Zone.
Head of the Directorate for Roads of Viet Nam's Vehicle Management Department, Nguyen Thang Quan, said that there are 36 driving training centres but many of them cannot offer training courses on trailer truck driving. The centres sold off their trailer trucks as the number of FC license applicants decreased in recent years.
Quan said the DRVN proposed that the ministry allow these centres to hire trailer trucks for the courses to better meet drivers increasing demand for license upgrades.
He added that transport enterprises could check the validity of an FC licence via the website. Enterprises should also offer health care policies and insurance to drivers to encourage them to do the job. — VNS