Friday 18 September 2020

DSA releases detailed Driver CPC exemption guidance


UPDATE: The advice discussed in the story below has since been removed from the website pending a review, following “queries” by trade associations. Information in this article therefore may no longer be accurate.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA), the government body responsible for overseeing the rollout of the Driver CPC, has released detailed guidance on specific situations where it considers drivers would be exempt from the requirement to hold the qualification – and where it believes exemptions do not apply.

In the introduction to its briefing, the DSA warned that: “These exemptions only apply in particular circumstances. A driver who is exempt from the requirement to hold a CPC as a result of the work he undertakes in the morning may find that he still needs a CPC for the different type of work he does in the afternoon.”

But the agency was also careful to point out that its guidance merely reflects its views of the relevant regulations and carries “no legal weight” as to whether or not the DCPC is required in each circumstance – adding that the interpretation of exemptions is ultimately for the courts to decide.

The move follows considerable confusion in the industry over, for example, the apparent requirement for mechanics to hold a Driver CPC solely for the purpose of taking a vehicle to a testing station for its annual test, as Transport Operator reported earlier this year. While the Road Haulage Association has pledged to challenge this position, the DSA has now reinforced its stance by offering the scenario as one of the examples in its guidance.

“Driver C is employed as a mechanic by a road haulage operator or by a repair centre. As part of his responsibilities, he takes vehicles that he has prepared, which included a road test, to the local testing station. When driving the vehicles to the test station he is not road testing them, so he needs to hold a CPC,” the agency said.

Further examples of possible pitfalls for operators include the exemption for the need to hold the DCPC where the vehicle is not allowed to exceed 45km/h on any road.

“Driver A works for a city bus company that has fitted its vehicles with speed limiters that prevent the vehicles from exceeding 40 km/p but he still needs a CPC,” the agency said. “Although the buses cannot physically exceed 40 km/h, the relevant law permits them to be driven at more than 45 km/h.”

The document also offers examples of numerous scenarios where the often-cited exemption for a vehicle “which is carrying material or equipment to be used by that person in the course of his work, provided that driving that vehicle is not his principal activity” may (or may not) come into play.


  1. John D thomas says:

    I find it inconsistent that if a fitter takes a vehicle for MOT with a dedicated test weight, he is classed as not operating for hire or reward and does not need to use a tachograph, but he needs a driver CPC. I believed that driver CPC only applies to hire or reward?

    If someone has a private HGV, they do not need driver CPC to go to the MOT test station, where is the difference and consistency?

  2. Linda Brown says:

    What about our Mechanics who on occasion deliver customer vehicles to the Docks for Export ? Driving is not their principle job, same as taking vehicle for test! Driving is not their priciple job.
    I can see that this CPC would be advisable and beneficial for new HGV drivers, but I feel it is another way of clobbering SME’s with more expense when it is absolutely not necesary. Our mechanics (3) feel this is a total waste of their time and our money!!

  3. Keith Philpott says:

    I hold a cpc national and international from the time I was a transport manager why do I need to sit a drivers cpc
    Surely they are just as relevant to the driving laws as a drivers cpc
    If not then it makes a mockery of the OCR exams I sat

  4. Mark Partrick says:

    Why is there no “Grandfather Rights” with the Driver CPC! Every other new law regarding driving or operating an HGV has had Grandfather rights and if the person can prove they were engaged in that activity before the implimentation date, got one without an exam! I am 62 years old. Have held an HGV since I was 21 yo, and have no intention of taking another exam now! I therefor will be unable to drive any of my trucks
    after the date!

  5. June says:

    I think all you guys need to get real, you have had plenty of time to get this sorted, stop moaning and lets get our professions some qualifications at long last. as a pcv driver the only qualification given was my badge and off you go. as a Transport Manager /CPC holder I welcome this and it has been a long time coming. Worrying about fitters to MOTS etc is just behaving like dinosaurs.

  6. Thomas Jordan says:

    I agree with Keith i also hold a cpc national and international to operate my business and to hold an operators licence i feel the exams i sat are just as important if not more so

  7. Fiona Hobbs says:

    The whole Driver CPC is inconsistent, it should have been across the board, we have all had plenty of time to get the DQC. Having been in haulage since I got my class one in 1981 I do feel that drivers need to be trained and made aware of their responsibilities. I have got numerous qualifications including my national and international CPC, unfortunately there are lots of transport managers out there who do not go on refresher courses I am now a compliance manager at a medium size general haulier. As part of my job and for my sins I teach the driver CPC , not one driver has come to class particularly willingly but at the end of their first days training they are amazed at the lack of knowledge they have regarding their responsibilties, graduated fixed penalties, the fact their licence can be revoked for using their mobile whilst driving . I could go on. I believe that if we are not careful the drivers who have got their DQC will be at a premium. My boss has been responsible why shouldn’t others be too. Everyone now has to do training and be responsible why shouldn’t we, when all said and done a 44 tonne truck is a weapon when driven badly. Drivers are the backbone of this country, they should be proud of their occupation and be professional.
    There is NO exam just training

  8. D Cooper says:

    Here is the best one of all. Did you know that as a registered trainer delivering DCPC, I am unable to submit my own name through the upload system to obtain my DQC. Instead, I have to attend another centre delivering DCPC, sit on their course for 35 hours to obtain my DQC. Silly? you bet!

    • rue says:

      me too…………………what i load of BS…i sit and deliver / teach 7hrs every saturday yet i have to go elsewhere to do my training. Surely me delivering is the same as me sitting and listening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. George says:

    I am an occasional driver who works out with the transport industry for my main profession, do I need a drivers CPC?

  10. A.Porter says:

    Talking of inconsistency. Try working in the trade plate delivery business!!.Not one government department can give you a straight answer. Read the exemptuons; and any vehicle that is new/used and untaxed is by their rules exempt. Thats why I have trade plates to tax that vehicle whilst on the road. The DSA told me that I needed the CPC because I was paid for moving the vehicles therefore they said it was hire and reward. Just to clarify, the definituon of hire and reward is the carriage of people or goods for financial gain.This is not what I do. All the comments about making the industry more peoffesional through periodic training is all very noble but surely it needs some kind of test to prove that people have at least listened!! On my first 2 days of training there were two Eastern Europeans attending, neither of which could speak English but were attending because they had too. And finally. If we have to have it then lets have it across the board.Surely a scaffolder driving an 18 tonne truck is as big a liability on the road as any other road user in fact moreso as driving is not his main occupatiin and yet he is exempt!!!!!!

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