If you’ve been driving for a living for a while you’ll know that the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) was introduced in 2008 for bus and coach drivers and 2009 for lorry drivers. If you’ve more recently started driving for a living then you will have started taking the Driver CPC initial qualification.
If you got your bus licence before 10 September 2008 or your lorry licence before 10 September 2009 then you have ‘acquired rights’ which takes your previous experience into account – you don’t have to do the qualification, however to stay within the rules, all drivers must do 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years.
Lorry drivers with acquired rights must finish their first round of Driver CPC periodic training by 10 September 2014 or risk a fine and losing their livelihood if they don’t finish their training in time.
Drivers can go online to check their periodic training record.
The Office of the Traffic Commissioner also reminds operators to be aware of their drivers’ training hours and the 10 September 2014 deadline to avoid penalties.
Drivers and operators can go online to find training courses. The kinds of topics covered in training courses can include fatigue, stress, winter driving, summer driving, vehicle checks, defensive driving, speed awareness, eco driving, attitude, overtaking, parking, manoeuvring, driving dynamics, customer care, driver security, accident procedures, emergency first aid and more. You are not expected to learn all topics in any one year – think of it as an ongoing training programme which will gradually improve your skills and knowledge over time.
DVSA’s Chief Executive Alastair Peoples said:
“DVSA enforcement officers already routinely check the Driver CPC status of professional drivers. After the deadline they’ll be able to check whether ‘acquired rights’ lorry drivers have completed their training or are driving illegally. Not being aware of Driver CPC is not an excuse for drivers or operators and there will be no amnesty period.”
It looks like the deadline will be met
Before Driver CPC was introduced, industry stakeholders were asked how many professional bus, coach and lorry drivers would need it. Their estimate was between 500,000 and 750,000. With the new CPC rules, it’s revealed that there are almost 800,000 drivers engaged in Driver CPC, with 564,000 having completed their 35 hours of training by the end of July 2014.
|Year||Drivers completing periodic training|
|April 2008 to March 2009||655|
|April 2009 to March 2010||3,790|
|April 2010 to March 2011||10,215|
|April 2011 to March 2012||29,219|
|April 2012 to March 2013||106,886|
|April 2013 to March 2014||254,191|
|April 2014 to 31 July 2014||159,425|
24 million hours of training
The latest figures also show that 24,245,741 hours of periodic training have been taken by professional drivers since 2008.
|Year||Hours of periodic training completed|
|April 2008 to March 2009||430,714|
|April 2009 to March 2010||1,465,725|
|April 2010 to March 2011||2,830,834|
|April 2011 to March 2012||3,805,109|
|April 2012 to March 2013||5,013,001|
|April 2013 to March 2014||7,008,077|
|April 2014 to 31 July 2014||3,692,281|
DVSA hasn’t said whether there has been a measurable reduction in incidents and accidents because of the training, although a great many training providers tout a reduction in accidents as one of the main benefits of taking the training.
The content of each course is the equivalent to at least a Level 2 National Vocational Qualification.
Both drivers and operators can get the most out of periodic training by choosing courses that:
- are relevant to the driver and the type of driving they do
- develop knowledge in a new subject area.
Fines and penalties relating to driver CPC
Driving professionally without carrying your DQC carries a £50 fixed penalty.
Driving without a Driver CPC qualification may also lead to prosecution proceedings for both the driver and the operator. There is a £1,000 maximum penalty.
These offences will also be referred to the Traffic Commissioner, which could result in the suspension of the driver’s and/or the operator’s licence.