What is Driver CPC?
Driver CPC is short for Driver Certificate of Professional Competence. It is a new qualification that all professional bus/coach and lorry/truck drivers will need to have if they want to continue to drive professionally.
Driver CPC is being introduced across Europe with effect from 9th September 2008 for Bus and Coach Drivers (PSV/PCV) and from 9th September 2009 for Lorry and Truck Drivers (HGV/LGV). This initiative will be implemented throughout the European Union and is mandatory for everybody who wishes to drive porfessionally or for hire or reward.
What are the aims of Driver CPC?
The aims of Driver CPC are to:
Improve the knowledge of lorry and bus drivers – helping:
Road safety (and thus all road users);
The road freight and passenger transport industries (better staff performance, better recruitment and retention, more economical vehicle usage);
The environment (reduced fuel consumption and vehicle wear and tear).
Recognise and accredit the knowledge and skills required for professional bus, coach and lorry drivers.
Ensure drivers continually update their skills and knowledge.
Raise the status of bus, coach and lorry drivers to promote driving as a career.
Who will Driver CPC affect?
CPC will affect all professional drivers of commercial vehicle’s over 3.5 tonnes, buses, coaches and minibuses unless they qualify for an exemption.
Who is exempt from Driver CPC?
There are exceptions from the Driver CPC qualification for drivers of vehicles:
used for non-commercial carriage of passengers or goods, for personal use;
undergoing road tests for technical development, repair or maintenance purposes, or of new or rebuilt vehicles which have not yet been put into service;
used in the course of driving lessons for the purpose of enabling that person to obtain a driving licence or a Driver CPC;
carrying material or equipment to be used by that person in the course of his or her work, provided that driving that vehicle does not constitute the driver’s principal activity*
with a maximum authorised speed not exceeding 45 km/h;
used by, or under the control of, the armed forces, civil defence, the fire service and forces responsible for maintaining public order;
used in states of emergency or assigned to rescue missions.
*An example of a driver under exemption vii (also known as ‘incidental driver’) would be a brick layer who drives a load of bricks from the builder’s yard to the building site and then spends their working day laying bricks. In this case, driving a lorry is incidental to their main occupation.
Drivers can move in and out of an exemption, depending on the circumstances in which they are driving. For example, a bus / coach technician would be exempt while driving a bus to check that it had been repaired, but would need to hold a Driver CPC if they also drove a bus on a passenger carrying service. Likewise a lorry / truck technician would be exempt when taking a vehicle on road test but would need to hold a Driver CPC if he was to deliver that same vehicle back to the customer. In both these isolated cases, moving in and out of an exemption would require the person to have their Driver CPC.
Can I work as a driver without a Driver CPC?
No, unless in exempted circumstances as shown above.
What does Driver CPC involve?
As well as a driving license, bus and coach / lorry and truck drivers who drive professionally will have to hold a Certificate of Professional Competence which is renewable every 5 years. There will be an initial qualification for new drivers and periodic training for new and existing drivers whereby drivers will be required to complete ‘periodic training’ every 5 years to remain eligible to drive professionally. Driver CPC came into force on 9th September 2008 for PSV/PCV drivers and 9th September 2009 for HGV/LGV drivers. These implementation and introduction dates apply to all EU member states. Despite fears and worries within certain drivers, the driver CPC is just based on attendance and there is normally no pass or fail element*.
* Certain courses where a certificate is required to be gained to comply with Health & Safety ie: MHE (Mechanical Handling Equipment), a test after the 7 hour periodic training will be necessary!
How do I get a Driver Qualification Card (DQC) and what does it look like?
For new drivers you must complete Module 4 or you will need to attend an approved course taken through an approved training centre for it to count towards your periodic training. The DSA (Driving Standards Agency), will provide a central database to keep records of the periodic training completed by every driver, it will be the responsibility of the training centre to enter records onto the database and drivers will now only be able to access their own records by checking on-line through the Gov.uk website. All JAUPT* Approved Centre’s will be required to provide certificates as proof of training being carried out with the original certificates being the property of the driver.
* The approval process for courses is managed on behalf of The DSA by JAUPT (the Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training).
On completion of initial training or of 35 hours of periodic training a driver will automatically be issued with a DQC (Driver Qualification Card), to prove that they hold the Driver CPC. A DQC is a card that will be issued once 35 hours of periodic training has been carried out. These cards are issued for a 5 year period and are done so through the DVLA.
How much will a DQC cost?
The cost of the DQC is built into the cost of the upload fee therefore there will not normally be an additional charge for the issue of the DQC unless a driver does not have a photo license; an EU license with a paper attachment or a valid UK address.