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Driver CPC training, don't get caught out

You might soon need to take action if you need a Driver CPC – and it will affect more people than you might think. Emma Penny, Farmers Guardian editor, looks at what’s involved.

Do you use a large goods vehicle (LGV) to transport anything you sell? If you do, you are likely to need to complete five days of training before September 9, 2014 as part of the new Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC).


Many people are unaware they need this qualification, especially in farming, according to two Driver CPC trainers, Jock Clark and Dave Johnson, who run Fife and Tayside Transport Training. Both are retired traffic policemen, and warn that people who haven’t done the CPC but require it will be caught.


“You can bet VOSA will be sitting at markets to check once the CPC becomes law in September. They sat outside schools once the qualification for bus drivers came in last year and a lot of drivers were put off the road,” says Mr Clark.

Busting the myths

The pair have been doing Driver CPC training through local machinery rings in the Perthshire and Fife area and are anxious to bust some myths.


Mr Clark says: “A lot of people think this will go away, but it won’t. If you look at it logically, the Driver CPC has been running for four years so far, and the EU won’t stop it now.


“Get on and do it if you are doing any driving which involves commercial reward or financial gain, such as selling stock at market, or taking produce to a merchant.


“There is no comparison with O-licensing requirements, and it covers owner drivers too. If you are doing any work which you get paid for or there is any commercial involvement, you need to do it.”


The qualification is EU-wide and affects anyone driving a vehicle which requires you to have a C1, C1+E, C or C+E licence, and who is transporting goods you might sell.


It was brought in to help drive up skills, and is in two parts; an initial qualification for new drivers, and periodic training of 35 hours every five years which involves all drivers. The periodic training covers safe and fuel efficient driving, legal requirements, as well as health and safety including first aid and manual handling.

Grandfather rights? You still need your Driver CPC

Anyone who passed their test before September 9, 2009 will have acquired (grandfather) rights. However, you still have to complete the 35 hours of training every five years to obtain your Driver CPC before September 9, 2014 so you can obtain a Driver Qualification Card (DQC).


Each of the modules is seven hours long. There is no exam involved and so no pass or fail – you just have to attend the training.


Surprisingly, you can sit the same module five times and obtain the DQC.


If you have a photocard licence, you will get your DQC when you’ve completed either your initial qualification or your 35 hours of periodic training. If you have an old-fashioned paper licence, you will need to swap it for a photocard licence before you can get your DQC. This is because the DQC needs a photograph and signature, which are taken from the photocard details. You must carry your DQC while driving an LGV.


There are some situations when you don’t need a Driver CPC. The Driving Standards Agency’s guide sets out examples and tells you if it thinks you would be exempt in those situations:

You don’t need to have Driver CPC if:

  • you’re driving vehicles carrying goods, materials or passengers on a non-commercial basis (including your own personal use). ‘Non-commercial’ generally means that what you’re doing isn’t intended to generate a profit.
  • you’re carrying equipment or material that you’ll use in the course of your work, provided that driving the vehicle is not the main part of your job. This includes trade tools, goods such as building materials or cables to be used by the driver in the course of their work and extra crew like a mechanic’s mate or any other person needed for the job.
  • you’re not a professional driver but your work includes an incidental element of driving empty lorries, buses and coaches in the local area. You will need to satisfy certain conditions, including driving within 50 km of your base and not carrying passengers or goods.
  • the vehicle is not allowed to exceed 45kph on any road. However, if, for instance, your vehicle is fitted with speed limiters which stop it exceeding 40kph, you still need a Driver CPC because although the vehicle can’t exceed 40kph, the law allows it to be driven at more than 45kph.


However, the DSA stresses this doesn’t carry any legal weight, and says only a court can make a decision on how the rules about Driver CPC are interpreted. “You should get legal advice if you want to rely on one of these exemptions,” it says.


The NFU has been involved in recent consultations about the Driver CPC and whether it is required by farmers or not. It says: “Many farmers would take the view that their principle activity is farming rather than driving and they may be exempt under the first point.


Despite approaching the DSA and VOSA several times, we have not been able to get a firm commitment that farm use of trucks and buses would be exempt.


“VOSA has asserted that the ‘material or equipment’ would have to be used by the farmer or farm worker as part of their job, and so this exemption couldn’t be used for taking goods or livestock etc to market.


“Only a court would be able to give a definitive legal interpretation. We would advise all members who drive trucks and buses as part of their business activities to assess where they stand with regard to these exemptions and consider periodic training for their drivers before the first deadline of September 2014, to avoid the potential for breaches of legislation.”


It says it will continue to ‘question government attempts to gold-plate a European requirement that was aimed at the haulage and passenger services industries and bring further cost to the farming industry where driving a truck or bus is often ancillary to the main business activity’.

What does the training involve?

What does the training involve?

So if you do need to do your Driver CPC, and it seems many people do, what’s involved? As an LGV C+E holder, I have done three modules out of the five required so far as I wanted to maintain being able to drive if needs be. A friend organised the training for a group of eight of us, and it was held in a local hotel. Because we were all from a similar background, we were also able to ask the trainers to tailor some of the content to our requirements.


Our trainers came from a recommended training company (see www. or contact 0300 200 1122 for companies offering courses) and charged us £85 each per module. The trainers logged our module completion and we were able to check our CPC progress online after registering with the site ( and being sent a password.


Topics the training days covered included tachographs, legal requirements, safe loads, safe and fuel efficient driving and accidents and emergencies. One of the most interesting parts of it was the first aid section, where we practiced resuscitation on a dummy, as well as being told what would happen should we need to operate a defibrillator.


The three days were quite interesting, but I think it would become less interesting once you had sat through the same course a few times, though a reminder of how to be safe and do first aid is generally a good thing. There is potential to choose other courses which might help vary things in future – one of our trainers had spent two days on a CPC course run by Mercedes which counted towards his Driver CPC.


I have two modules to complete before September. The three I have completed so far are logged with DSA, and once I have completed the others, my DQC should arrive automatically because I have a photocard licence.


However, it is worth noting that for anyone under 45, LGV licences will now only be valid for five years. New legislation which came into force last January requires drivers to renew their licence by filling in a form stating they are medically fit to drive, and as part of this, you must give permission for DVLA to speak to your doctor. The DVLA will send renewal form when it is due.

Do you need a Driver CPC?


Driver A is a farmer. On an average of once a month, they transport some of their livestock to a local cattle market for auction. They need to have Driver CPC when doing this, as they’re not carrying materials or equipment for their use in the course of their work – they’re carrying cattle intended for sale.


Driver B is a farmer. Twice a month they drive a lorry on public roads around their farm, repairing fences. The vehicle carries the tools and materials they need to make these repairs. They don’t need to have Driver CPC because they’re carrying materials to be used by them in the course of their work repairing fences.


Driver C is employed by a farmer as a labourer. Twice a day they drive a minibus under a D1 driving licence, transporting workers from the local town to various fields on the farm. The driving activity takes up a relatively small proportion of their day. The majority of their shift is spent with the other workers picking crops. They need to have Driver CPC because they’re transporting the other labourers – they’re not carrying materials or equipment.


Driver D is a farm labourer. Their normal duties include transporting livestock and crops around the farm in a lorry. They need to have Driver CPC when driving on public roads while doing this as they’re carrying goods intended for sale, as opposed to materials or equipment.


Source: Driving Standards Agency

New drivers; what you need to know

New drivers; what you need to know

Anyone passing their test since the 2009 date now needs to complete four separate parts in order to gain their LGV licence and Driver CPC:


  • Part 1 - theory test (this includes two separate tests - multiple-choice and hazard perception);
  • Part 2 - Driver CPC case studies test, which is a computer-based exercise with seven studies based on real-life situations - eg driving in icy conditions;
  • Part 3 - driving ability test
  • Part 4 - Driver CPC practical demonstration test. This takes 30 minutes and need to show you can keep your vehicle safe and secure, eg loading your vehicle safely.


You must pass part 1 before you can take part 3, and pass part 2 before you can take part 4. You can take part 1 and part 2 in any order, and can take part 3 and part 4 in any order, says the DSA. After you’ve passed the initial qualification you’ll get a driver qualification card (DQC).

Some interesting points from training

  • Never expect anyone else to do the right thing on the road
  • The 75mm rule - if any drip from your lorry is bigger than this after five minutes when VOSA stops you, you’ll be off the road
  • In a wagon, four seconds is safe distance between vehicles. Add one second for less than perfect conditions
  • If you have cruise control, set it a few mph below the limiter otherwise they will fight one another
  • Rope hooks on vehicles cannot be used to anchor loads - the anchorage must go onto the chassis
  • Every 1mph increase in road speed will reduce fuel efficiency by 0.1mpg in an LGV
  • If you are involved in an accident, tell the emergency services where you are – it is a myth that your mobile phone will always work as a pinpoint for your location
  • If you need to do CPR on someone any you are by yourself, phone for help first
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