The Driver CPC is a scheme for LGV and PCV drivers who drive professionally throughout the UK. It has been developed as a requirement of the EU Directive 2003/59, designed to improve the knowledge and skills of professional LGV and PCV drivers
10 September 2008 saw the introduction of the Driver CPC for bus and coach drivers. 10 September 2009 will see the introduction of the Driver CPC for lorry drivers. The Driver CPC is intended to lead to road safety benefits and better motoring for everyone. It will reduce fuel consumption and emissions by ensuring that drivers of buses, coaches and lorries are competent drivers and knowledgeable about all aspects of being a professional driver today. The qualification will provide recognition of increased skills and raise their professional status, and will encourage young people to join those professions.
Good practice framework
The new arrangements will provide a framework of good practice within the haulage and passenger carrying industries. At the forefront of the benefits is that of road safety as better qualified drivers will help to address the problem of road casualties.
Professional drivers will have to keep their certificate valid by completing a total of 35 hours periodic training every five years. Existing drivers will not have to pass the initial qualification, but will be subject to the five yearly periodic training requirement and will have up until 9 September 2014 to complete their training.
This, however, poses a significant problem as it is widely expected that very large numbers of drivers (and their employers), and most particularly self employed drivers, will leave the training until late in 2013 or worse still until 2014. We know from experience of the introduction of ADR training in 1998/99, and working time regulations for drivers in 2005 that implementation of regulation is widely left until the very last possible moment.
To put this into context, there are approximately 500,000 commercial lorry drivers. Ideally, one fifth of these, around 100,000 would undertake one days training each year, so there is a fairly constant and even number being trained. The training infrastructure will simply not be able to cope with 500,000 drivers needing five days training in July and August 2014.
Industry also expects that the introduction of the Driver Certificate of Competence will bring an improved professional and positive image to the profession, which will attract more people into wanting to drive buses, coaches or lorries for a living.
The initial qualification for new drivers of these vehicles - which includes minibuses and large vans - will be obtained by the driver passing detailed tests, comprising a total of four hours theory testing and two hours of practical testing. These tests will be set at the equivalent of an NVQ Level 2.
Industry experts have been working with DSA over the last three years to develop the new tests and assessments. Driver CPC tests are being developed in a modular format that will enable them to be integrated with the current licence acquisition tests.
It will be possible to take the current licence acquisition driving test for buses, coaches, minibuses, lorries and vans separately from the CPC tests so that those who do not require a CPC and want to drive these vehicles in a non-professional capacity can do so. If they decide at a later date they want to drive the vehicles on a professional basis, they will have to take the additional test modules to get a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence.
The CPC will enable young people to enter these sectors in a safe and professional manner from aged 18 for lorry drivers, 18 for bus drivers and 20 for coach drivers, subject to any licence restrictions for Category D drivers.
Work and study
It will also be possible to work towards obtaining CPC at the same time as taking National Vocational Training, providing the NVT lasts at least six months. The CPC tests will still need to be taken, but this option allows drivers to work professionally in the UK while working for their CPC, up to maximum of three years. The Driver CPC relates to professional drivers. Non-professional drivers will be exempted.
The modular arrangements for taking tests will ensure that all drivers of large vehicles have the necessary knowledge and skills.
Evidence that a driver has achieved a CPC will be shown by a separate driver qualification card. The penalties for non-compliance will be the same as driving without a licence and they will be enforced from day one.
DSA is working in partnership with the industries’ trade associations, Sector Skills Councils and other stakeholders on the development and implementation of arrangements, which are needed to meet the requirements of the CPC initiative.
For more information
Further information is available on the how to deliver Driver CPC training, along with a list of approved trainers is available from www.transportoffice.gov.uk/cpc and www.skillsforlogistics.org. The DSA ‘Are you ready? Professional edition LGV, PCV and Driver CPC’ video clips are now available on their YouTube channel www.youtube.com/dsagov