There is one thing that every single HGV driver has in common. One thing that everyone must do before they are granted their HGV licence and allowed to drive HGV’s out in the world. They have all taken and passed their Driver CPC. Driver CPC stands for Certificate of Professional Competence and means you are able to be responsible for a heavy good vehicle. If you drive an HGV without holding a Driver CPC, you could face up to £1,000 in fines and even jail time. To keep your Driver CPC up to date, you must submit to medical examinations every 5 years and undertake 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years. This is just one of the ways we ensure that everyone driving an HGV is safe and capable. But let’s rewind a bit. What’s involved in achieving this fundamental qualification and become an HGV driver?
Under an EU directive, any professional bus, coach or lorry driver must hold a valid Driver CPC license in addition to their standard and vocational driving licenses. This directive is very specific and applies to all HGV’s, plus lorries over 3.5 tonnes and mini bussed with 9 seats or more. In order for any individual to obtain their Driver CPC, applicants must complete 4 separate tests and assessments to judge their practical and theoretical capabilities. Drivers who obtained their license before the 10th of September 2009, however, don’t need to take this initial qualification, as they are deemed to hold ‘acquired rights’. But they will still be required to complete periodic training and medical checks every 5 years in order to keep it valid.
In broad strokes, there are 2 parts to the Driver CPC – theory and practical. Within each part, there are 2 sections and all 4 must be completed before the qualification will be given. The theory section of the test is broken down into 2 parts – multiple choice and hazard perception – much like the standard driving test. But instead of cars, the footage will be applicable to larger vehicles, manoeuvrability and safety. You will be asked to sit in front of a screen and asked to answer a series of questions in a set time, and your result is instantly available at the end. Each section can be done separately or at the same time, depending on your preferences.
For part 2 of the theory section, you will be asked to take the case study test. This is an interactive process that usually takes around 75 minutes and covers 7 key case studies. You will be asked to view each one and then answer a series of questions on each. In order to pass this section, you will need to score at least 40 out of 50. You are allowed to take a 15-minute practice session to warm up and get used to the program you’ll be using though.
Now that you’ve had some time to warm up with the tests and get hours of practice in with an instructor, it’s time for the first practical part of your Driver CPC test. The driving ability test will feel a lot like your initial driving test. You will sit in an HGV with an examiner, who will give you directions to follow and manoeuvres to perform. This test is all about assessing your practical ability to drive and control an HGV safely.
Finally, you will come to the practical demonstration, which is different to the driving ability test, despite sounding similar. This test is designed to assess your practical knowledge of vehicle safety and manual operation. During this test, you will need to show that you can keep your vehicle and its contents safe and secure before and during transit. You will be asked about the safe use of your vehicle and what checks need to be done before it should be driven. You will be asked to demonstrate many of these, including how to load and unload your vehicle safely, how to assess emergencies and risks and the procedure for checking for criminal acts and trafficking in your vehicle. This section of the test lasts around 30 minutes, and to pass you will need to score at least 80 out of the possible 100 points (so at least 15 out of 20 for each topic).
Once you have earned your Driver CPC, you can then increase your earning potential by taking other tests for different categories of vehicle. Each extra category will make you more attractive to employers and clients, especially if you are looking to specialise in a certain industry. For more information or to book your Driver CPC training, get in touch with us today