Shops’ shelves could be left bare of basic staples such as milk and bread if truck drivers fail to comply with forthcoming EU regulations, Brit has warned .

A new EU-wide regime of driver certification of professional competence (Driver CPC) will affect hundreds of thousands of employed and self-employed truck drivers across all 27 European member states. If drivers fail to comply with the regulations, the result could be a major breakdown in the distribution and supply chain.

Brit UK Motor Portfolio Manager Andy Keane said the ramifications for both the haulage industry and the UK economy will be far reaching unless current levels of Driver CPC uptake improves.

He said: “The deadline for completing the required 35 hours of training is 2014 which may seem like a long way off but the reality is many haulage companies and drivers are simply leaving it too late.

“The current shortfall in the number of training hours completed by those required to undertake Driver CPC is likely to exceed 5 million training hours by the end of 2011 and it’s predicted there could be as much as a 30 percent shortfall in the number of qualified drivers of vehicles over 3.5 tonnes before 2014.

“Should this happen, the impact on the UK economy could be devastating with a downturn in productivity coupled with loss of sales for many millions of businesses that depend on road haulage.”