Driver CPC

About Driver CPC

In 2003 a European Union Directive was passed requiring professional drivers of minibuses with 9 seats and above and/or goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes are legally obliged to hold the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence – otherwise known as the Driver CPC. The Driver CPC was introduced to enhance the knowledge and skills of professional drivers of buses, coaches and/or lorry drivers throughout their working life.

What is the Driver CPC?

The Driver CPC is a professional qualification for bus, coach, and lorry drivers. Although the directive was passed in 2003, it was not introduced for Passenger Carrying Vehicles (PCV) drivers until 10th September 2008 and then for Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) drivers until 10th September 2009.

Once qualified, drivers receive a Driver Qualification Card (DQC) and must keep this with them when driving professionally. In addition to the initial qualification to obtain the Driver CPC, professional drivers are required to undertake periodic training totalling 35 hours every 5 years in order to retain the Driver CPC.

What is the purpose of the Driver CPC?

The main aims of the Driver CPC are threefold:

  • To improve the skills and knowledge of bus, coach and lorry drivers prior to them starting to drive professionally.
  • To continue to develop and enhance their skills and knowledge for the duration of their working lives.
  • To improve road safety Europe wide with more highly qualified drivers.

Who does the Driver CPC apply to?

The Driver CPC legislation applies to the UK licence categories C, C1, D, and D1. New drivers entering the industry need to pass an initial Driver CPC qualification before they will be able to drive professionally and this can be taken alongside the vocational driving test. However, all drivers will still need to complete the periodic training of 35-hours within 5 years if they wish to keep the Driver CPC.

How do you get a Driver CPC?

In order to obtain the Driver CPC initial qualification drivers are required to complete 4 modules:

Module 1

Consists of a theory test which comes in two parts lasting a total of 2.5 hours:

  • Multiple choice
  • Hazard perception

Module 2

Consists of a theory test based on case studies lasting 1.5 hours.

Modules 1 and 2 can be taken in any order but must be completed before moving on to modules 3 and 4.

Module 3

Consists of a practical driving ability test lasting 1.5 hours broken down into 3 parts:

  • Reversing exercises at the test centre
  • A minimum of 1 hour on the road
  • An assessment of the eco-safe driving technique

Module 4

Consists of a practical demonstration test in relation to vehicle safety, lasting half an hour.

Whilst you can take modules 3 and 4 in any order, you must have completed module 1 in order to attempt module 3, and you must have completed module 2 before you attempt module 4.

  Required for Licence Acquisition only Required to upgrade to CPC Required for licence acquisition & full upgrade to CPC
Module 1
Module 2
Module 3
Module 4

What’s Included in Module 1 of the Driver CPC?

As noted above, module 1 is a theory test split into 2 parts. The first part is a multiple-choice exam, requiring at least 85 correct answers in order to pass. The second part is a hazard perception test involving 19 clips including 20 score-able hazards, requiring at least 67 out of 100 possible marks to pass. The tests last 2.5 hours and can be taken in either order.

What’s Included in the Module 2 Case Studies of the Driver CPC?

Unfortunately, passing the components in module 1 is not enough on its own to get you the Driver CPC, you will also have to pass module 2. This is tested on the computer and uses a series of case studies based on real-life scenarios that you may be faced with when working professionally. You will be asked questions about the scenarios written by experts in the field. These questions will mostly be multiple-choice, but some others: require you to click on a photograph or image; are multiple response, or; are free-text.

Each test consists of 7 case studies containing between 6 and 8 multiple choice questions about the given scenario. Examples could include anything from driving in icy conditions to violations of driving hours rules and are designed to test your knowledge and understanding in practice. The maximum score for the test is 50, with a pass mark of 40 required. The test lasts a maximum of 1.5 hours and must be passed before attempting module 4 or driving professionally. Without a DQC, you can’t drive for profit.

Module 2 Conversion Test

Drivers who hold a Driver CPC in one vehicle category (e.g. PCV or LGV) already and want to attain one in another category will have to undertake a module 2 conversion test. This test will consist of 50 questions in relation to 10 case studies. To obtain the Driver CPC in the new category they will also need to complete parts one, three and four in full.

What’s Included in the Module 3 Practical Driving Ability Test?

As noted above, the practical test contains 3 parts:

  1. A reversing exercise carried out in the test centre
  2. A minimum of 1 hour on public roads, which, depending on where you take your test, MAY INCLUDE driving on motorways. Exercises undertaken will be related to the specific vehicle you wish to obtain the Driver CPC.
  3. An assessment of eco-driving safety. This involves the examiner noting your control over the vehicle and ability to plan your driving appropriately. However, this part of the assessment will not count towards the test results. Nevertheless, the examiner will give you feedback on your eco-safety performance at the end of the test.
    The test lasts 1.5 hours and will include a minimum of 1 hour driving on public roads.

What’s Included in the Module 4 Practical Demonstration of Vehicle Safety Test?

To attain the Driver CPC modules 1,2 and 3 are not enough, you will also have to pass module 4. This is another practical test with a particular focus on vehicle safety and was specially designed with advice and support from industry experts. The half-hour test requires participants to demonstrate their ability and knowledge in a number of areas:

  1. Vehicle Loading – Ability to load your vehicle with appropriate consideration for safety rules and the proper understanding of vehicle use will be assessed. This includes an assessment of your knowledge of fuel consumption optimisation and the transmission system.
  2. Vehicle Security – Ability to maintain the security of your vehicle and contents will be assessed.
  3. Prevention of Criminality and Trafficking – You will be assessed on your ability to prevent criminality and the trafficking of illegal immigrants.
  4. Emergency situations – Your ability in terms of assessing emergency situations will be tested.
  5. Prevention of Physical Risk – Your capacity to prevent physical risk will be assessed.
  6. Walk Round Vehicle Safety Check – You will be required to demonstrate your knowledge through a physical safety check of the vehicle.

In LGV tests you may also be required to demonstrate your ability securing loads using a specialist piece of equipment. All-in-all the test is marked on all of the topic areas covered in the Driver CPC syllabus with a pass mark of 15 out of 20 required in each of the 5 syllabus areas and an overall pass-mark of 80% also necessary to obtain the Driver CPC.

What is Required for Periodic Training?

You will be required to undertake 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to retain the Driver CPC license for professional driving. The 35 hours can be staggered and taken across multiple blocks. However, the minimum amount of time for a single block is 7 hours and the courses undertaken must be taken with approved training centres in order to count.

Those holding both a PCV and an LGV license are only required to complete one 35-hour batch of training every 5 years rather than 35 hours each per licence.

Who has Acquired Rights for the Driver CPC?

A number of drivers have ‘acquired rights’ which means they are not required to sit the initial part of the driver CPC qualification due to their experience level. Acquired rights holders are those professional drivers with:

  • an LGV licence passed before the 10th of September 2009, and/or
  • a PCV license passed before 10th September 2008

However, even drivers with ‘acquired rights’ will need to comply with the periodic training requirement. They will only receive their DQC once they have completed their first 35 hours of specific training which will remain valid until:

  • 9th September 2019 for LGV drivers
  • 9th September 2018 for PCV drivers
  • 9th September 2019 for holders of both licence

Periodic training has set deadlines for completion, with the next deadlines:

  • 9th September 2024 for LGV drivers
  • 9th September 2023 for PCV drivers
  • 9th September 2024 for holders of both licence

Proving the Driver CPC

Proving you hold the Driver CPC for professional drivers is possible with the Driver Qualification Card (DQC), or a valid driving licence for someone with ‘acquired rights’, which MUST be carried at all times when driving professionally.

Exemptions for the requirements of the Driver CPC

You are exempt if the vehicle you drive is… You are exempt if the vehicle you drive is used…
A new or rebuilt vehicle not yet in service, or undergoing tests for repair, maintenance or technical development. For driving lessons.
Carrying equipment or material for your own work use, providing driving the vehicle is not your principal activity. By the armed forces, civil defence, fire service or any forces responsible for the maintenance of public order.
Is restricted, or has a maximum speed of, 28 miles per hour. For carrying passengers or goods (for personal use) – must be non-commercial
In states of emergency or when assigned for a given rescue mission.