If you’ve been around for a while, or just like to read a lot, then you might be familiar with the term ‘grandfather rights’, and how important they can be when it comes to driving professionally, especially where the Driver CPC is concerned. If you’ve not heard of them before, let us enlighten you. Grandfather rights (also known as acquired rights) are something that’s granted when there is a legal change to a system. For example, if you didn’t need a qualification to do something before but a new law states you do, then there would be a certain group of people who were doing the task before the law required the qualification who will be allowed to continue under ‘grandfather rights’. This stops huge groups of people suddenly losing their jobs, or having to spend a lot of time and money retraining for something they already know how to do. They can come up in almost any industry, but today we’re going to focus on the HGV industry, and the grandfather rights around the Driver CPC.
We’ve talked about this a lot before, but just in case, here’s a refresher. The Driver CPC stands for ‘Driver Certificate of Professional Competence’, and essentially means that people who hold that qualification are qualified and safe to drive heavy good vehicles. It was developed as a result of EU Directive 2003/59, and was passed into British law not long after (so Brexit won’t affect it!). It required drivers to be continuously trained throughout their working lives and maintain a high standard of safety. Drivers can only be trained through approved training courses, and are required to do 35 hours of approved training every 5 years to keep it up to date. When you’re first applying, you will also be required to pass some tests to prove you are up to the standards required.
When the Driver CPC was first introduced, all new drivers looking to work with HGVs or LGVs were required to pass the Driver CPC in order to qualify. But if all of the existing drivers, some of whom had been driving these vehicles for decades, were required to do this as well, the haulage industry would have ground to a halt. All drivers would have to come off the road for a substantial amount of time to complete the training and tests, which could cause irreparable damage to the economy ad the country as a whole.
So, grandfather rights were introduced. This means that any drivers who were already driving professionally could continue to do their jobs without having to change anything. They did not have to take the tests or do the training, just keep safe on the roads. The Driver CPC was only applied to new drivers looking to qualify after the implementation deadline (the 10th of September 2009). This kept the industry running while ensuring all new drivers were up to scratch. After a time, all drivers driving under grandfather rights would retire, and we would be left with roads full of CPC certified drivers.
If you’re a large goods vehicle driver and you gained your licence prior to 10th September 2009, then you have Grandfather/acquired rights. This applies to Cat C, C1, C+E and C1+E licences. If you gained a bus or coach driver and gained your licence D, D1, D+E or D1+E before 10th September 2008, you also apply for Grandfather/acquired rights. This means you can continue to drive without taking the new CPC tests.
However, if you don’t fall into that category, you will need to apply for and pass your new Driver CPC test. That is, if you want to be able to drive an HGV or LGV professionally and legally!
Of course, you could choose not to train. But if you go down this route, there are some pretty serious consequences. For one, it’s a huge breach of the law around HGV driving, which means you could be open to criminal prosecution. It could also seriously damage your professional reputation. But the good news is if you’re a current holder of an HGV licence (that you gained before the dates listed above), then it’s not too late for you to apply for Grandfather rights, or to get your Driver CPC from scratch.
Grandfather rights are a concept that have been around for a long time and cover all sorts of industries, including HGV licencing. They are a fantastic option for when new laws come into place, as they give you time to make changes without feeling like you are being penalised, or that you are losing out. At The LGV Training Centre, we are here to help drivers like you achieve your CPC qualification, whatever your circumstances. Whether that’s through grandfather rights applications or starting from scratch. If you would like to know more, just get in touch with us today.