The Driver CPC is EU-wide and affects all professional drivers with a C1, C1+E, C or C+E licence. It was brought in to help improve skills, and consists of two stages; an initial qualification for new drivers, and periodic training of 35 hours every five years which involves all drivers.
As far as new drivers are concerned, passing their test now requires completion of 4 separate parts in order to gain their LGV licence and Driver CPC:
- Part 1 – theory test (consists of two separate tests – multiple-choice and hazard perception);
- Part 2 – Driver CPC case studies test – is a computer-based exercise with 7 studies based on real-life situations – eg driving difficult conditions;
- Part 3 – driving ability test
- Part 4 – Driver CPC practical demonstration test – takes 30 minutes and refers to safty and security of the vehicle, eg safe loading.
Part 1 must be passed before part 3 can be taken, and part 2 must be passed before part 4 can be taken. Each of the parts – 1 and 3 and 2 and 4 can be taken in any order. After passing the initial qualification the driver gets a driver qualification card (DQC).
All drivers who passed their test before September 9, 2009 will have acquired grandfather rights but are still obliged to go through periodic training of 35 hours every five years to obtain their Driver CPC before September 9, 2014 so they can obtain a Driver Qualification Card (DQC). The periodic training covers safe and fuel efficient driving, legal requirements, health and safety including first aid and manual handling. Each of the modules is seven hours long. There are no exams after the training and so no pass or fail – you just have to attend the training.
There are some situations when you don’t need a Driver CPC. The Driving Standards Agency’s guide sets out examples and tells you if it thinks you would be exempt in those situations when the vehicles you are driving:
- Have a maximum authorised speed not exceeding 45kph
- Are new or rebuilt and have not yet been put into service
- Are carrying material or equipment to be used by the driver in the course of his work, on condition that driving the vehicle is not the driver’s principal activity
- Are undergoing road tests for technical development, repair or maintenance purposes
- Are used by, or under the control of, the armed forces, civil defence, the fire service and forces responsible for maintaining public order
- Are used for driving lessons to obtain a driving licence or a Driver CPC
- Are used for personal use
- Are used in of emergency or rescue missions
Driver CPC is enforced in all European Union member states. Drivers must always carry evidence of their Driver CPC status. If found driving without a Driver Qualification Card, they will be liable for penalties. The Police and VOSA officials will ask to see Driver CPC Periodic training card at roadside checks or in case of road accident involvement. Lack of awareness will not be an excuse and drivers will be fined or even lose their driving licenses if they don’t finish their training on time.