7 Quick Tips About Driver CPC

Elite HGV Drivers Class 1 vehicle

Confused about Driver CPC? Keeping on top of your training hours probably isn’t your favourite aspect of the job; but getting it wrong can stop you working altogether.

So, don’t leave it to chance! Keep on top of your training hours and get up to speed on all the latest rules with our 7 Quick Tips About Driver CPC!

Here, we take a quick and easy look at the main things you need to remember to keep yourself safe, legal and ready for the road.

The introduction of CPC

Operating large vehicles can be a dangerous; to minimise this danger, and to help maintain a professional image for the industry, the government, in line with EU regulations, introduced the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) in 2008 for bus and coach drivers, and 2009 for lorry drivers.

There are various courses available for CPC, all specifically designed to update and maintain the knowledge and skills of lorry, bus and coach drivers.

However, getting and maintaining your Driver CPC can be a little confusing, which is why we have put together this short list of key things you need to know so that you don’t get caught out.

TIP 1: Make sure you need Driver CPC

The first question you’ll have to ask yourself is, do you actually need to do your Driver CPC? It can get a little bit murky sometimes around who does or doesn’t need a Driver CPC qualification.

The basic rule is that ‘you must have Driver CPC if you drive a lorry, bus or coach as the main part of your job.’ However, this is a bit ambivalent and there are a number of exemptions from this rule that may be worth looking into and understanding.

The Exemptions:

  • A. You are driving the vehicle for the purpose of carrying material or equipment to use in the course of your work, as long as the driving of the vehicle is not the main activity.
  • B. You are driving the vehicle carrying passengers for non-commercial use. E.g. you rented a small bus to drive your extended family around on holiday.
  • C. The vehicle has a maximum speed of up to 45 km/h.
  • D. The vehicle is being used by one of the following services: armed forces, civil defence, fire services or forces responsible for maintaining public order.
  • E. You are driving the vehicle for road tests, either for the development of the vehicle or maintenance purposes.
  • F. You are driving the vehicle in an emergency. For example, you are requested to drive a lorry full of sandbags to help prevent flooding.
  • G. You are driving the vehicle during a lesson with the aim of obtaining a driving licence or a Driver CPC.
  • H. You are driving the vehicle during the course of your work, but it’s not your main job, no goods or passengers are being carried, and you are within 100km of your works location.

These rules are still a little generic, so seek legal advice before relying on an exemption. It’s worth noting, however, that the cost of doing a week’s CPC with Backline is likely to be less than the legal advice anyway!

Got a question? Ask us here!

TIP 2: Be aware of the rules for New Drivers

After passing a driving test for a minibus, coach, or lorry you must then pass an initial Driver CPC qualification to drive for a living.

In addition to the theory and practical test to get your driving licence you will also need to pass a computer based and shorter practical test to gain your initial Driver CPC qualification.

After this the licence must be maintained with periodic training. Depending on when you passed your test(s), you might be able to skip straight to the periodic training.

Use this form to check:

TIP 3: Keep up your Periodic Training

The periodic training rule is there to ensure a constant high level of driving for drivers of large vehicles and combat skill and knowledge fade.

To maintain your Driver CPC, you must undergo 35 hours of structured CPC training every five years.

You can do the training whenever you want, spreading this out over the course of the five years, doing it all at the start, or even doing it all right at the end. Whatever works best for you.

However, if you do not complete your training by the 5-year deadline you will not be able to drive professionally until you have finished the full 35 hours. So effectively, you won’t be able to work!

Tip 4: Know what taking the course requires

You must take one of these to your Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) training course:

  • driving licence
  • passport
  • a digital tachograph card
  • Your Driver CPC card

At the end of the course you will get a certificate of attendance which you should keep safe so you have a record of when you did your training.

In order to be valid, CPC hours must be uploaded by your training centre within 5 days of completing your training. You can register online at the Gov.UK website to check what has, or hasn’t, been uploaded.

Tip 5: Getting your Driver CPC card

Your Driver CPC card, sometimes called a ‘DQC’ (driver qualification card) will be sent to the address on your driver’s licence. It will use the same picture and signature as is on that.

You must carry this card with you at all times whilst driving a lorry, bus, or coach professionally.

The only exception to this is if you have completed your 35 hours and are waiting for your new card to be delivered, so long as the training centre has uploaded your hours.

There is a £50 on-the-spot fine if you’re stopped and you’re driving professionally without your card.

If it doesn’t arrive within 20 days of completing your training, contact the DVSA. You can use this email address: cpcre@dvsa.gov.uk.

TIP 6: Don’t miss your Training Deadline

You cannot drive professionally if you don’t complete the 35 hours by the deadline. So, it really is best to try and avoid this scenario with good planning.

However, it’s not the end of the world if you do miss the deadline. You simply need to complete the required number of training hours as soon as possible.

These hours will be added to the hours you have already done over the last five years. Once complete your driver qualification card will be put in the post and you can start driving again.

It’s worth noting that CPC hours expire after 5 years if they’re not used. Check how many valid modules you have, and when you took them, by visiting Gov.UK

TIP 7: Be aware of what training you can do in another country

If you have a UK driving licence, you are allowed to do some of your training in other EU countries (for now). If you do this however, be aware that your record won’t automatically be updated and so your card won’t get put in the post, even if you have completed the 35 hours.

Instead you will need to apply for your Driver CPC card in writing. As such, it might take a little bit longer for you to get you card so be prepared for this.

Find out what you need to send and where to send the documents to apply for your Driver CPC card here.

For more information about Driver CPC, why not check out our dedicated Driver CPC page on our training section.

We run courses across the country to make it easy for you to access services locally. And remember, if you have any questions at all you are more than welcome to Get in Touch!