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Driver CPC (LGV & PCV)

Introduction
A new qualification for professional bus, coach and lorry drivers - the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) - has been given the Government green light. In March (2007), the Government transposed EU Directive 2003/59, introducing the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) for lorry, bus and coach drivers, into UK legislation.

The driver CPC has already started for drivers of passenger transport, with the HGV sector drivers able to start their cpc training in September 2009. For a general overview of the driver CPC qualification which will answer many general questions, the content below will prove a good starting point.

What is a Driver CPC?
The driver CPC is a qualification which is obtained following the successful completion of driver training and an examination which is designed for all UK professional drivers. It is being developed as a requirement of the EU Directive 2003/59, which is designed to improve the knowledge and skills of LGV and PCV drivers throughout their working lives.
The Training Directive stipulates that all persons wishing to drive Goods Vehicles in excess of 3.5 tonnes (C1 licence) in a professional capacity will have to undergo training for, and obtain, a vocational Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), further to the LGV/PCV licence.
Vocational training leading to the CPC will be kept, but the number of exemptions will be reduced and incentives will be introduced to reward drivers who undergo the training to have earlier access to larger vehicles. However, a requirement for full basic training leading to the CPC may create short term problems in the labour market.

According to the Directive, basic vocational training is divided into three areas:

Whilst this new legislation may be seen as having some drawbacks, it is, in the main, one of the best policies to come from the EU in relation to driver competence. It will unify for the first time further training for existing drivers and new guidelines on training for new drivers entering the profession as a career.

What Training is Involved?
Training will affect all professional LGV and PCV drivers. For new drivers it introduces a new initial qualification, the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), which increases the amount of knowledge that drivers need before they can drive. The theory test questions were increased from the proposed 60 in April 2007, to 100 by July 2008. There will also be 19 hazard perception clips in the theory test and along with the appropriate practical test, will have to be taken by both PCV and LGV drivers.
From the 10th September 2009 LGV drivers will also have to do 3 case studies and a half hour extra practical test module that constitute the initial Driver CPC.

All new and existing professional drivers will have to undertake 35 hours of training every five years to ensure that their driver CPC is current, this is known as Periodic Training. It is designed to confirm and expand on the existing knowledge and skills of each driver to ensure that they continue to be confident, safe and fuel efficient drivers.
Only courses that have been approved and are being delivered by a training centre that has been approved by the Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT) on behalf of the Competent Authority will count towards the Periodic Training requirement.
Training will be delivered in three modules, which will enable drivers to keep up to date with the ever changing regulations and to benefit from state of the art training throughout their whole career. The Directive will become effective for PCV in September 2008 and LGV in September 2009.

Training courses must be at least seven hours in duration. Where courses are seven hours in duration, they can be divided into two equal parts, but the full course must be delivered within 24 hours. Please note, the total course length must be a full or half hour e.g. 7 hours or 7.5 hours not 7.25 hours. Where courses are over seven hours, but can be delivered in blocks of seven hours (i.e. course of 14, 21, 28, or 35 hours), the full course must be delivered within the year of approval.
NB: drivers must complete the full course for any of the hours to count towards Periodic Training e.g. if a driver completes only 28 hours of a 35 hour course, except in exceptional circumstances, none of the hours will count as the full course has not been completed. The review of these exceptional circumstances will be at JAUPT's discretion.

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Who is affected by the requirements for periodic training?
In essence every driver of a PCV or LGV. However, there will be exemptions in the shape of those drivers not driving for hire or reward, and those running the community bus permit scheme i.e. the majority of Community Transport.
The under mentioned list gives an overview of what's likely.

Exemptions
Drivers are not required to hold a Driver CPC if the vehicle they drive is:

This list is not necessarily exhaustive and is intended only as a guide. It is recommended that in all cases where it is felt an exemption applies, drivers and operators seek independent legal advice.

What will it Achieve?
Commercial vehicle training objectives will be to load the vehicle with due regard for safety rules and proper vehicle use, including:
forces affecting vehicles in motion, use of gearbox ratios according to vehicle load and road profile, calculation of payload of vehicle or assembly, calculation of total volume, load distribution, consequences of overloading the axle, vehicle stability and centre of gravity, types of pack aging and pallets; main categories of goods needing securing, clamping and securing techniques, use of securing straps, checking of securing devices, use of handling equipment, placing and removal of tarpaulins.

There can be no arguments that the main benefits to come from this will be enhanced road safety and better qualified drivers to help reduce road casualties. Driver CPC should also bring an improved professional and positive image to the profession, attracting more people to to an industry that has sufferred in being unable to attract the number of drivers needed to maintain the service levels expected of it in todays demanding supply chain.
It is aimed not only at improving the knowledge and skills of LGV and PCV drivers when they start work, but also at ensuring those skills are maintained and developed throughout their working life.

Further Reading
For further information on the subject of the Drivers CPC Qualification, training and information for drivers in Northern Ireland, please visit the links to the following websites:

Drivers in Northern Ireland - Driver Testing Vehicle Agency

EU Directive 2003/59 PDF logo

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