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Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)

The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) is for all drivers who drive professionally throughout the UK. This applies to all drivers, driving for reward or commercially operation in vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.

This standard does not apply to those who drive their horsebox purely in connection with their hobby and leisure time.

The standard does apply to anyone driving a horsebox in connection with their profession, i.e. a rider driving their own and horses of others to a competition, or a horse transporter moving someone’s horse as part of their commercial operations.

The standard, which came into force on 10th September 2009, is designed to help improve and raise driving standards.

There are two components of the new standard as follows:
  • The initial Driver CPC Qualification – which must be taken by new drivers (those taking their test since 10th September 2009) as part of their new licence attainment
  • Periodic training: 35 hours of training must be completed by all professional drivers every five years.

Initial Driver CPC Qualification

Drivers who passed their driving test for the C1, C1 + E, C and C + E entitlements prior to the 10th September 2009 have been granted ‘acquired’ or ‘grandfather’ rights to the initial driver CPC. These drivers are also granted 5 years to complete the ‘Periodic Training’ element of the qualification.

The initial driver CPC is now taken as part of the examination requirements for new drivers taking tests in categories C1, C1 + E, C and C + E.

For new drivers (those taking their test post 10th September 2009) there are four mandatory modules for the Driver CPC, consisting of the vocational requirements for the new driving category entitlement and those necessary for the Driver CPC.
  • Theory Test – consisting of multiple choice questions and hazard perception test. These are computer based tests designed to be taken as one or separately. Taken together the test will last for 2.5 hours.
  • Case Studies – Real life scenarios designed to test your knowledge. This is a computer based test and will take 1.5 hours to complete.
  • Practical Test – the road test. This will take approximately 1.5 hours
  • Driver CPC Practical Test – a practical test focussing on vehicle safety. This test will last for 30 mins and will require the driver to demonstrate or explain:
  • Ability to load the vehicle with due regard for safety rules and proper vehicle use
  • Security of the vehicle and contents
  • Ability to prevent criminality and trafficking in illegal immigrants
  • Ability to assess emergency situations
  • Ability to prevent physical risk
  • Demonstrate your ability through a physical, walk round vehicle safety check

Periodic Training

Periodic Training is continuing professional development for professional lorry drivers. Each driver has an obligation to attend 35 hours training every five years if they wish to continue using their licence professionally. The training is ‘attendance only’ and does not require the taking or passing of any tests or examinations.

Periodic training must be completed and evidenced by new and existing drivers in the five years following, either:
  • The passing of the initial CPC
  • The granting of any ‘acquired rights’
This means for existing drivers granted ‘acquired rights’ as of 10th September 2009, 35 hours worth of periodic training must be completed by 9th September 2014. As soon as the training is completed and evidenced, drivers will be issued with a ‘Driver Qualification Card’.

The minimum length of a training course is 7 hours.  Periodic training is designed to complement the individual driver’s work and be relevant to their every day job. Courses may include SAFED (Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving) style training, defensive driving techniques, first aid, health and safety, driver’s hours regulations and tachographs. Courses will also enable drivers to keep up to date with changing regulations.

Exemptions from the Driver CPC

  • Vehicles with a maximum speed not exceeding 45 Kph
  • Vehicles used by the armed forces, civil defence, and emergency services
  • Vehicles undergoing road tests for technical development, repair or maintenance
  • Vehicles used in states of emergency
  • Vehicles used in the course of driving lessons or examinations
  • Vehicles used for non-commercial carriage of passenger or goods – for personal use
  • Vehicles used for carrying material of equipment to be used by the driver in the course of his or her work, providing that driving the vehicles is not the drivers’ principle activity
Further information can be found at:

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Last updated: 25/06/2010
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