What is Driver CPC & Who Needs It?

There are a lot of abbreviations, slang terms and acronyms in the driving industry – and it’s important that as a professional, you know what they are.  In the case of Driver CPC, those who professionally drive an LGV over 3.5t or minibus with 9 seats or more must ensure they adhere to a number of legal obligations that can directly affect the driver and the company they drive for.

CPC stands for the Certificate of Professional Competence, and is required for driving professionally in the UK and EU when operating an LGV or Minibus vehicle for hire or reward along with holding the correct licence entitlements to the vehicle you use.

Lorry (LGV) drivers who obtained their licence (C, C1, C+E and C1+E) before 10 September 2009 and Bus and coach (PCV) drivers who hold a relevant vocational licence (D, D1, D+E and D1+E) gained before 10 September 2008, (including restricted vocational licence D (101) issued after 1991 and D1 (101) issued before 1997) do not need to take the initial qualification. This is because they are deemed to hold ‘acquired rights’. However, they will still have to complete periodic training to keep their Driver CPC.

Existing drivers with acquired rights will receive their DQC when they have completed their first 35 hours of periodic training; their DQC will be valid until 9 September 2018 for PCV drivers and until 9 September 2019 for LGV drivers. Drivers with licences for both PCV and LGV will be covered by one DQC which will be valid until 9 September 2019 which most current drivers will have.

All drivers need to complete 35 hours of periodic training every five years on an ongoing basis to keep driving for a living. Drivers can check their Driver CPC periodic training record online to see how many hours they have done.

Periodic Training 

Periodic training is delivered through courses that drivers attend over the five-year period for which their current Driver CPC is valid. There is no pass or fail element to these tests and the minimum length of a training course is seven hours.

Each new five-year period will begin from the expiry date of the driver’s current Driver CPC qualification, and not from the date on which they reached the 35 hours minimum training requirement.

Drivers of LGV vehicles prior to 10 September 2009 had to complete 35 hours of training and have their DQC issued by 9 September 2014. The deadline to complete their second block of training is 9 September 2019.

Drivers of PCV vehicles prior to 10 September 2008 had to complete their first block of 35 hours of training and have their DQC issued by 9 September 2013. The deadline to complete their second block of training is 9 September 2018.

Drivers of both PCV and LGV vehicles only need to do one set of periodic training every 5 years.

Initial Qualification

The initial Driver CPC qualification is split into four parts. These include the theory and practical tests drivers will need to pass before they can gain their full vocational driving licence.

The other two parts are optional, and only need to be taken if the driver wants to get the full Driver CPC that will allow them to drive buses, coaches or lorries professionally.

This gives drivers the flexibility to obtain their vocational licence only, or to gain full Driver CPC at the same time.

The two Driver CPC theory tests are:

  • part one – theory test. The theory test is made up of 2 parts 1) a multiple choice test and 2) a hazard perception test.

A driver must take both tests separately and it doesn’t matter in which order the driver completes them. As long as the driver passes both within 2 years of each other the driver will get a theory test certificate.

Once the driver has passed Driver CPC module 1 the driver must pass the Driver CPC module 3 driving test within 2 years, otherwise the driver will have to pass the module 1 theory test again.

  • part two – case studies

The test consists of seven case studies the driver works through on a computer. The case studies are basically short scenarios based on situations that are highly likely to happen in one’s working life as a lorry driver. The test has been written by industry experts and uses realistic scenarios that a lorry driver may encounter when out on the road.

A pass letter is valid for two years and the driver must complete and pass the Driver CPC module 4 practical demonstration test within the 2 years, otherwise the driver will have to complete module 2 case studies test again.

The practical tests are:

  • part three – licence acquisition (practical test of driving ability)

The driving ability test is a practical test that lasts for 1 hour and 30 minutes and includes: • Vehicle safety questions • Practical road driving • Off-road exercises

  • part four – Driver CPC practical test (vehicle safety demonstration)

The Driver CPC Module 4 is an interactive test where the driver is expected to demonstrate and explain a number of operations that are required by a lorry driver other than the driving itself.

To get the full Driver CPC qualification, drivers must pass all four parts. If they want to get a vocational licence, but will not be driving for a living, they will only need to take and pass part one and part three.

As a Driver CPC training provider, we know how important it is to make sure you receive the correct training you require, as this can save you money and time if done correctly.

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