For the last few years, the UK has been experiencing an acute shortage of HGV drivers. So naturally, the demand for qualified heavy vehicle drivers has increased exponentially. This has opened up massive career opportunities for those who want to work in the public transportation industry. However, to qualify as an HGV driver in the UK, one must possess a Drivers’s CPC certification. You need to clear an exam, and based on your performance; the CPC is awarded to you. All heavy vehicle drivers in the UK must have a valid CPC card to drive heavy vehicles professionally. Failing to do so may cost you your licence along with paying a hefty fine. This guide will explain all about driver CPC and the exam procedure to get an idea and prepare yourself.
What is a Driver CPC?
A driver CPC is the abbreviation of Certificate of Professional Competence. It is a set of standards developed by the EU to ensure that professional drivers are competent enough to be on the road. If you are getting your licence for the first time, you need to pass the initial driver CPC to get a professional licence. Apart from that, you also need to go through CPC training periodically to retain your CPC qualification.
The Process of CPC Qualification in the UK
The driver CPC tests the required knowledge a driver should possess in order to qualify for their certification tests. Four parts together form the driver CPC qualification-
Part 1 – Theory test
Part 2 – Case studies
Part 3 – Practical Driving Test
Part 4 – Vehicle Safety Demonstration
The test you take will depend on whether or not you want to drive for a living. If you wish to take the test but are not going to take up lorry driving as a profession, you only need to pass parts 1 and 3. However, if you wish to drive for a living, you must pass all four parts. You also need to pass Part-1 to qualify for Part-3 and Part-2 to appear for Part-4.
There are some exemptions to the rule, so you should check them out before deciding. It isn’t easy to pass the driver CPC without proper training, so you should consider finding an institute that offers HGV CPC training in the UK.
Let us now look at the four parts of the CPC in detail-
1. Theory Test
Passing the HGV theory test is the first step to becoming a professional heavy vehicle driver. Part 1 will check your theoretical knowledge of driving and regulations. The Theory Test comprises of two parts –
a. Multiple choice section
b. Hazard perception section
Both these parts can be taken at different times, but the gap shouldn’t exceed 24 months to qualify for CPC.
- For part 1a, you will be given specific instructions to help you with the test. During the test, a question will appear on the screen with multiple possible answers. You must select the correct answer from the options given. Some questions may need you to choose more than one answer, so read the question carefully before answering. There will be 100 questions that you have to answer in 115 minutes. You need to score at least 85 out of 100 to pass this stage.
- Part 1b or the hazard perception test will begin with a short video that shows how this test works. You will then go through several short video clips which will feature everyday road scenarios. In each scenario, there will be at least one hazard brewing, and you have to click each time you assume there is going to be a hazard. Make sure to click as soon as you sense it, as the sooner you identify a threat, the higher your score. The maximum you can score on each hazard is 5. To pass this stage, you need to score at least 67 out of 100. Since there are no right or wrong answers in this stage, people often find it more difficult than multiple choice.
2. Case Studies
You will be given seven real-life scenarios in this stage, and you must demonstrate your driving abilities to pass. This test can be taken even before qualifying part 1 theory test. This section is not compulsory for those who don’t wish to pursue driving as a career.
This test is carried out on a computer and will show you seven case studies, each with 6 to 8 questions. The maximum you can score on this test is 50, and you need to score 40 to pass.
3. Practical Driving Test
A lorry driver is expected to be on a higher medical standard and clear both theory and practical tests before granting the licence. This stage lasts about 90 minutes, and the candidate is expected to complete vehicle safety questions, practical road driving, and off-road exercises. You need to carry certain documents with you, so make sure you have all of them before you go for the test.
4. Vehicle Safety Demonstration
If you want to drive a lorry, bus or coach professionally, you need a driver CPC, including part 4. This part takes about 30 minutes to complete, and it covers five topics mentioned in the CPC syllabus. However, people who don’t want to drive professionally are exempted from this test. This test is only allowed if you have cleared the case studies test.
Hope this guide has given you a basic idea of the pattern of driver CPC tests in the UK. For more information, contact an HGV training institute to guide you through the entire process and help you get your driver CPC.