Getting ready for the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence

With effect from September 2014, every professional truck driver in the UK needs to hold a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC). As the deadline approaches different arms of the industry are voicing more strenuously than others their reaction to the requirement.

The requirement

Probably the most detailed and authoritative explanation of the requirement is, of course, the government’s own website on behalf of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) which was last updated in June 2014.

This distinguishes between the requirements for two types of driver:

  • new drivers (in classes C, C1, C+E and C1+E) who wish to drive for their living are required to gain their Driver CPC;
  • established drivers have until September 2014 to gain their Driver CPC. If they wish to drive a larger vehicle than the one on their current driving licence, a further Driver CPC is required.

From that date, anyone driving an HGV for their living is liable to be fined up to £1,000 for doing so without a Driver CPC. In effect, therefore, the requirement affects every professional driver in the UK.

What it is

The CPC was introduced across Europe with the aim of improving road safety and maintaining the standards of safe driving by professional drivers.

The certificate is in four parts:

  • Part 1: theory tests on hazard perception;
  • Part 2: case studies;
  • Part 3: test of driving ability; and
  • Part 4: vehicle safety demonstration.

Although established drivers were considered to have “acquired rights” they are also now included in the general requirement that every driver must complete 35 hours of periodic training every five years in order to maintain their CPC and continue to drive for their living.

The reaction

The reaction to the approaching deadline from the various associations representing lorry owners and drivers has been mixed.

The Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training(JAUPT) – unsurprisingly sings the praises of the new requirements and the measures that are in place to approve and authorise the various periodic training centres that have been established around the country.

JAUPT is the government sponsored agency responsible for approving centres for periodic training.

Truckers World – is probably the most vociferous in its condemnation of the introduction of the new regulations. It describes the Driver CPC as a “worthless and unrecognised qualification” which pays no regard to the professional training already taken by most of the country’s lorry drivers.

Truckers World takes issue with the standards and qualifications of those offering periodic training courses and describes JAUPT as a quango.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA)– has given the new regulations a cautious welcome, particularly the flexibility given to both employers and employees in arranging periods of training that are likely to suit them both. Although the same flexibility may be said of the training courses available, the RHA wonders whether every programme provided by the more than 3,000 approved training courses is up to scratch.

Although reasonably balanced in its response to the Driver CPC initiative, the RHA raises the spectre of haulage firms which have not arranged training for their drivers attempting to poach fully trained drivers from rival firms.