Every HGV driver, regardless of age or qualification level, has one thing in common. They have all taken and passed their Driver CPC test. This test is the basic standard for all HGV drivers in the UK. It stands for Certificate of Professional Competence, and means you have proven your ability to drive a heavy goods vehicle in a professional capacity. Under a European Union directive, any professional bus, coach or lorry driver needs to hold a valid Driver CPC license in addition to their vocational and standard driving license. Under the directive, this applies to any driver of a lorry over 3.5 tonnes or mini busses with 9 seats or more. If you are caught driving a HGV without holding a valid Driver CPC, you could be fined up to £1000 and suspended from driving until it is completed. To get and keep your Driver CPC license, you must take a 4-part test, submit to medical examinations every 5 years and take part in 25 hours of periodic training over those 5 years.
Part 1 – Theory
The Driver CPC starts you off in a fairly comfortable way with the theory section. This section contains 2 familiar parts- a theory test and hazard perception – both of which you will have taken in your standard driving test. The footage shown is simply more applicable to larger vehicles, with specific scenarios that only HGV drivers could experience. You take both parts of the test via a screen, and your result is displayed at the end of the test. The whole thing takes around 30-45 minutes.
Part 2 – Case Studies
The final part of the theory section, part 2 of the Driver CPC test is all about case studies. Here you will be seated in front of a screen with either a mouse and keyboard or an interactive screen. You will be presented with 7 key case studies, which you will have some time to read through. You will then be asked to answer 50 questions about the various case studies. To get a passing mark, you will need to score at least 40 correct answers. You will be allowed to do a 15-minute warm up session to get used to the technology and get yourself ready. The longest element of the whole thing, the case studies section lasts for 75 minutes.
Part 3 – Driving Ability
Now we step back into familiar territory with the driving ability portion of the test. This section will feel the most familiar, because it is essentially the same as the standard driver’s test. Your instructor will get into the HGV with you and give you directions to follow, and will assess your driving ability along the way. They will ask you to do manoeuvres like reversing and hill starts, which are more important to get right in a HGV. You will usually be out for around 45 minutes and will be told right away if you have passed or failed.
Part 4 – Practical Demonstration
While this might sound a lot like the driving ability test, during the practical demonstration you won’t be asked to do any physical driving. Instead, you will be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of operational and safety procedures around your HGV. So you will need to carry out vehicle checks with the instructor present and demonstrate how to operate it safely. You will be asked to load your vehicle, secure the goods and then unload it again. You will also be asked to demonstrate how to assess emergencies and risks. This includes emergency access and procedures, and how to check for criminal activity and human trafficking in your vehicle. This section lasts for just 30 minutes, and you need to get at least 80/100 (that’s 15 out of 20 for each topic area) in order to pass.
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