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What is Driver CPC?
To drive HGVs and PCVs at a professional and commercial level, drivers must complete statutory training in order to be issued with a Driver Qualification Card (DQC).
The statutory training referred to is known as Driver CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) and applies to most C1, C1E, C and CE (HGV drivers) and D1, D1E, D and DE (PCV drivers).
First introduced in September 2008 (PCV) and September 2009 (HGV), Driver CPC has 3 main objectives:
- Improve road safety
- Underpin and expand on current driver knowledge e.g. driver hours, digital tachographs, rules and regulations etc.
- Ensure new entrants have the required skills and knowledge to carry out their duties as professional drivers.
Driver CPC is an EU Directive (2003/59) and is also designed to harmonise training and professional driving standards across the European Union. Active drivers (acquired rights) will need to undertake 35 hours of driver CPC training every 5 years.
Training consists of a series of modules, each lasting 7 hours on various topics that should be relevant to the drivers specific occupation. Driver CPC took effect from September 2008 for PCV drivers and September 2009 for HGV drivers.
This means that compulsory training must be completed by September 2013 and September 2014 respectively. In the UK (and the rest of Europe), there are two types of Driver CPC training: initial Driver CPC training and periodic Driver CPC training.
Initial Driver CPC Training
New drivers will complete their initial Driver CPC training as part of their category C1, C1E, C, D1 or D training. To obtain a licence, students will need to pass all of the following modules:
Driver CPC Training Module 1a and 1b
Module 1a. Theory test consisting of 100 multiple choice questions. Must get at least 85 correct answers.
Module 1b. Hazard perception theory test. 20 hazard clips. Each clip consists of 2 to 3 hazards. Must get at least 67 (out of 100) points to be awarded a pass.
Module 2. 50 multi choice questions based on 7 different scenarios. The scenarios are designed to reflect situations a professional PCV or LGV driver will encounter in his or her working life. Must get at least 40 answers correct to be awarded a pass.
Module 3. Practical driving test. 1.5 hour practical driving test. This will include tell me show me questions, reversing exercise and approximately 1 hour driving on the public highway. The HGV driving test is by far the most challenging aspect of gaining LGV entitlement which is why training with a reputable, local training provider is so important.
Module 4. Practical associated knowledge exam. No driving is required for this part but you will need a suitable vehicle to demonstrate your answers. It’s all about what a driver does whilst not driving.
This may include checking the vehicle is not incorrectly loaded or overloaded, securing a load with the correct restraining devices, checking a vehicle is safe and in good working order before taking it on the public highway etc. Please view our Module 4 questions and answers page for more information on this subject.
On completion of all 4 modules drivers will be issued with their initial DQC which is valid for 5 years. Within that 5 years and every 5 years thereafter drivers will then become subject to periodic Driver CPC training, i.e. 35 hours every 5 years.
Periodic Driver CPC Training
As mentioned above, professional (existing) drivers need to ensure they have completed 35 hours of periodic driver CPC training every 5 years in order to be issued with a DQC.
It is up to the employer and driver to choose which topics they wish to study for their Driver CPC. Government regulations state that course modules must be officially recognised (Driver CPC approved) and must last at least 7 hours.
The majority of approved driver CPC modules are 7 hours in length and many experts recommend that drivers undertake 1 module every year to achieve their 35 hours, thus spreading the cost and time away from work. Again, once periodic training has been completed, drivers will be issued with a valid DQC. All drivers must carry their DQC with them when driving professionally. It is an offence not to carry a valid DQC whilst driving commercially.
Driver CPC Exemptions
Driver CPC applies to most professional PCV and HGV drivers but NOT every driver will require a DQC as there are a number of Driver CPC exemptions. It would be true to say some of the exemptions are quite vague and some road transport lawyers have likened the exemptions to a minefield.
If an operator believes his drivers are exempt from Driver CPC then the onus will be on the operator to prove and demonstrate that to be the case. Have a look at our Driver CPC exemptions page for more information.