Driver CPC Exemptions

The following content deals with the exemption and enforcement of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) and identifies the government body that is responsible for implementing and monitoring transport policy law.

Driving Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)

The DVSA is the body responsible for applying the law and controls on behalf of the government. In a number of areas, the DVSA are advisers to the elected government on transport and logistics legislation and is the key agency for accurate advice. The DVSA have the responsibility to implement the law and monitor the performance of business operator licence holders to maintain high standards of safety. 

Driver CPC Evidencing

The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) will be evidenced by the DVLA issuing drivers with a Driver Qualification Card (DQC), similar to the driving licence.

The Driver Qualification Card (DQC) will be issued by the DVLA to new drivers automatically on successfully passing the initial qualification. Existing drivers who hold a GB photocard licence will automatically be issued with the Driver Qualification Card (DQC) on completion of the 35th hour of Periodic Training.

There is no charge for the DQC card at the point of issue. The card will be sent to the address on the drivers' driving licence is registered with the DVLA. It is vitally important that the drivers' residential address is correct and up to date with the DVLA.

It is mandatory for drivers to carry their DQC card whilst driving and there are penalties if a driver is found to be driving professionally without a valid DQC card on the day. If a DQC card is lost or stolen it must be reported to DVLA within 7 days. It is also the responsibility of the driver to apply for a replacement DQC card to continue driving professionally.

The law states that a driver will be able to continue to drive professionally for up to 15 days without a DQC card whilst a replacement card is being reissued by the DVLA. If a driver has not applied for a replacement DQC card within the time scales allowed they should stop driving professionally and immediately contact the DVLA to seek advice, approval to continue driving or a time-limited exemption but this must be supported by any evidence issued by the agency, if granted.

Enforcement

It is an offence for drivers to work professionally without a Driver CPC unless they fall into one of the exempt categories. 

The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) has been introduced across all European Union member states and will be enforced in other EU countries in the same way as in the UK.

A driver can be fined up to £1,000 for driving professionally without a Driver CPC.

Exemptions - General

There are exemptions from the Driver CPC qualification for drivers of:

  • Vehicles used for non-commercial carriage of passengers or goods, for personal use.
  • Vehicles undergoing road tests for technical development, repair or maintenance purposes, or new or rebuilt vehicles which have not yet been put into service.
  • Vehicles used in the course of driving lessons for the purpose of obtaining a driving licence or a Driver CPC.
  • Vehicles carrying material or equipment to be used in the course of their work provided that whilst driving a vehicle it does not constitute the driver's principal activity* (see below).
  • A vehicle with a maximum authorised speed not exceeding 45 km/h.
  • A vehicle used by, or under the control of, the armed forces, civil defence, the fire service and forces responsible for maintaining public order.
  • A vehicle used in states of emergency or assigned to rescue missions.

*An example of a driver under exemption vii (also known as "incidental driver") may be a bricklayer who drives a load of bricks from the builder's yard to the building site and then spends their working day laying bricks. In this case, driving a lorry (LGV) is incidental to their main occupation.

Drivers are able to move in and out of an exemption, but this depends on the circumstances in which they are driving e.g.a bus mechanic would be exempt from requiring a Driver CPC whilst driving a bus to check repairs, but would need to hold a Driver CPC if driving a coach or bus (PCV) on a passenger-carrying service.

Exemptions from needing a Driver CPC

As a driver you do not need a Driver CPC if using a vehicle for:

  • Non-commercial carriage of passengers or goods for personal use.
  • Carrying material or equipment used for your job as in the example of the bricklayer above. 
  • Driving lessons to obtain a driving licence or a Driver CPC.
  • Driving to or from pre-booked appointments at official vehicle testing centres.
  • Driving within 62 miles (100 kilometres) of your employment base, providing that no passengers or goods are being carried and driving the lorry (LGV), bus or coach (PCV) is not your main job.
  • Maintaining public order, providing the vehicle is being used or controlled by a local authority.
  • Rescue missions or in states of an emergency.

You also do not need a Driver CPC if the vehicle is:

  • Limited to a top speed of 28 mph.
  • Being used or controlled by the armed forces, police, fire and rescue service, prison service or those running a prison or young offender institution.

To find out more about Driver CPC Exemptions, please visit – Who needs a Driver CPC?

The examples above are based on the current interpretation of the law. This interpretation is understood to be correct, however, only a court can decide if Driver CPC rules apply in each case.