Driver CPC

There still seems to be some confusion when Driver CPC is required.  Basically, if you own category C1, C, D1 or D on your driving licence, with or without the subcategory +E and you get paid to drive those vehicles, then you are a professional driver.  That is what you do for a living, such as a bus and coach driver or drive lorries for logistical purposes.  If you get paid to do another job, but driving a category C vehicle is required to help perform that duty, then the driving aspect is not your main duty and you may not be considered a professional driver.

If you drive a van or car that weighs no more than 3500kg (category B) and tow a trailer, you will not need any form of Driver CPC as this is only for drivers with the higher categories on their driving licence.

Driver CPC and new drivers

Since 10th September 2009 anyone who will be driving a vehicle with a Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) over 3500kg for commercial use, not only had to pass a lorry hazard perception test and practical driving test, but also had to gain a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) before driving professionally.   This is for all drivers of category C1 and C vehicles, which will be found on the bottom of the driver’s photocard licence.

The purpose of the Driver CPC qualification is to:

  • improve the driver’s knowledge and skills before they start driving a larger vehicle
  • develop the driver’s knowledge and skills throughout their  working life
  • improve road safety through better qualified drivers
  • Help the environment by reducing fuel consumption and vehicle wear

The initial Driver CPC qualification is split into four sections and each part must be passed before being allowed to drive as a professional driver or for commercial use.

  1. Multiple choice questions and hazard perception test
  2. Scenario based case studies
  3. The practical driving test
  4. Practical safety demonstration test showing the driver’s understanding of how to identify risks and problems associated with driving larger vehicles

One successfully gaining the initial Driver CPC qualification the driver will be issued a Driver Qualification Card (DQC).  It is illegal to drive professionally without the DQC, also the DQC must be with the driver at all times whilst driving and it is an offence not to produce the DQC when required to do so by an enforcement officer.

Periodic training requiered if you passed your category C since 10th September 2009 or category D since 10th September 2008.

Once the initial Driver CPC has been achieved, new drivers will immediately begin their five year cycle of periodic training.  During this period, if they wish to continue to drive a larger vehicle for commercial purposes, 35 hours of periodic training must be completed to ensure that Driver CPC is current.  Periodic training is designed to confirm existing knowledge and ensure that drivers of larger vehicles have the most up to date knowledge of new driving techniques and ever-changing legislation.   If, after the initial 5 years, the required Driver CPC has not been conducted, the DQC card will become invalid and the driver will not legally be able to drive professionally. 

Periodic training – existing drivers pre-10th September 2009 for category C and pre-10th September 2008 for category D

All drivers of category C1 and C who gained their entitlement before 10th September 2009, though acquired rights of category C1 before January 1997 or who hold a Class 1, 2 or 3 HGV licence prior to 1991 must also complete 35 hours of periodic training.  This training must be completed by 10th September 2014. For PCV/PSV drivers the training must be completed by 10th September 2013

Once this training has been completed, a DQC will be issued.  If the Driver CPC has not been gained, the driver will not legally be able to drive for commercial purposes.


Periodic Courses

Only Approved Training Centres can deliver periodic Driver CPC training and an organisation has been set up to manage the approvals system.  Approved Training Centres can be found by contacting the Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT).   They will have a list of all approved centres as well as courses available.  During my last search I found 191 training course relating to category C1 and C vehicles.

The 35 hours Driver CPC training over five years does not need to be taken in one go, but the minimum course duration will be seven hours.  So it is possible to do one course a year over five years to conform to Driver CPC.  Courses range from practical first aid training, reversing course to driver health and safety and fuel efficiency driving.  Advanced LGV or PCV driver skills courses are also available.  The courses are designed to fit around the requirements of the driver to ensure that they have the most appropriate and up to date skills.


Further information can be found on the JAUPT website:

as well as and


As always, when dealing with the EU, there are exemptions.  The most appropriate exemption I must bring to your attention is:

  • Carrying material or equipment to be used by the driver in the course of his or her work providing that driving the vehicle is not the driver’s principle activity

What this means is that, if a driver can prove that driving is not their main activity, such as an Arborist and the vehicle is used to carry tools that are required to conduct their principle activity.  Although all drivers of larger vehicles must pass the theory test and the practical driving test, the Driver CPC and periodic training may not be needed.

I have asked for clarification from JAUPT, DVLA and VOSA and they have all replied in the same way. 

“Ultimately, it is up to the driver and their employer to decide if they are covered by these exemptions, and if necessary, justify it to the competent authority.  Therefore we would strongly advise that if a driver believes they are exempt from the Driver CPC that they should seek independent legal advice.”

 I hope they don’t fall off the fence with that attitude!

As of yet, no precedent has been set.  If you strongly believe that you or your organisation fall within the exemption of Driver CPC you may be asked to prove it.  However, ensuring your workforce are correctly trained and have the most up to date knowledge and are aware of current legislation is also very important.

Still confussed?