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The various parts of the CPC legislation were drafted to ensure that drivers and operators of goods vehicles all adhere to a certain standard. Its three sections have been specifically designed to make sure that new drivers going out onto the roads are as safe as they can be, with a detailed and thorough knowledge of the industry in which they work. Not only does the legislation look after the skills of new drivers, but it also makes sure that more experienced drivers are routinely retrained to keep their skill-set fresh and up to date. This has a positive impact on road safety and working conditions for drivers, makes Operators more accountable and responsible, and gives a broader and more involved edge to what is already a varied and rewarding career track.
There are 3 different Certificates of Professional Competence (CPC) that you can take, read on below to find out which is right for you. This affects anyone driving HGV vehicles for hire and reward (payment).
DRIVERS CPC INITIAL QUALIFICATION
If you are under 21, you need to do the Initial Qualification, whatever you are driving for. If you passed your car test before Jan 1997 and have ‘Grandfather’ rights for a C1 vehicle, you DON’T need to do this. If you passed your Category C1, C, or C+E test before Sept 2009, you DON’T need to do this. Everyone else MUST do this. If you are required to do the Initial Qualification and you FAIL to do it, you are DRIVING ILLEGALLY and can have your license revoked/face fines or imprisonment.
PERIODIC CPC TRAINING
To be completed after the Initial Qualification and is the drivers’ responsibility to ensure it’s done. Consists of 35 Hours of classroom retraining every 5 years (7 hours per year). If you fail to complete your 35 hours at the end of the 5 year period, your license will become INVALID until the hours are completed. If you passed your Category C, C1, or C+E test before Sept 2009, you have until Sept 2014 to complete this requirement. All other drivers will have 5 years to complete this from the date of their Module 4 pass.
OPERATORS CPC TRAINING
If you operate a goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes in the weight you’ll need an Operator’s Licence. To obtain a standard license you must hold the relevant Certificate of Professional Competence in Road Haulage (CPC) qualification. A Standard Operator’s Licence is required for hire and reward operations and a Restricted Operator’s Licence for own account.
Driver CPC aims to improve road safety by helping drivers of buses, coaches and lorries obtain, maintain, and develop their professional skills and knowledge, including:
eco-safe and fuel-efficient driving
defensive driving techniques
health and safety
loading a vehicle safely
complying with relevant rules and regulations such as driver’s hours
being aware of the risks on the road and accidents at work
Once you’ve decided to take the first steps towards becoming a professional driver, you’ll need to sign up for a course that will cover what is now referred to as initial Driver CPC training: a series of modules including theoretical and practical examinations. Initial Driver CPC will include the practical driving test and once all four modules have been passed, you’ll receive a driver qualification card which is valid for 5 years.
If you drive any of the following as a means of your principal source of income, you must be CPC certified:
Heavy construction equipment
Buses - both regional and local
Coaches - both regional and continental
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