Situations when you might not need to have the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) to drive a lorry, bus or coach.
About Driver CPC
You must get the Driver CPC initial qualification if you’re new to professional driving and want to drive a lorry, bus or coach.
You’ll have Driver CPC through ‘acquired rights’ if you were already a professional bus or lorry driver before certain dates.
When you don’t need Driver CPC
There are some situations when you don’t need Driver CPC.
This guide sets out examples and tells you if the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) thinks you’d be exempt in those situations. However, this doesn’t carry any legal weight.
Only a court can make a decision on how the rules about Driver CPC are interpreted.
You should get legal advice if you want to rely on one of these exemptions.
Nationals of EU member states or employed by a company based in a member state
You must have Driver CPC if you need a driving licence shown in the table to drive a relevant vehicle.
|Type of vehicle||Licence categories|
|Medium-sized vehicles||C1 and C1+E|
|Large vehicles||C and C+E|
|Minibuses||D1 and D1+E|
|Buses and coaches||D and D+E|
This applies if you are either:
- a national of any EU country
- a national of a country outside the EU, but you work for an organisation that is based in the EU
Driver A is a Dutch national and drives a large goods vehicle (LGV) within the EU. They need to have Driver CPC.
Driver B is a Turkish national working for an Austrian coach operator and drives within the EU. They need to have Driver CPC.
Driver C is a Turkish national working for a Turkish haulage company. Although they often drive into the EU, they don’t need to have Driver CPC.
Driver D is a Polish national working for a Russian tour operator. They only drive coaches in Russia, so they don’t need Driver CPC. They will need Driver CPC if their employer starts running tours from Russia into the EU.
Vehicles that aren’t allowed to exceed 45 kilometres per hour
You don’t need to have Driver CPC if the vehicle is not allowed to exceed 45 kilometres per hour (km/h) on any road.
Driver A works for a city bus company. Their vehicles are fitted with speed limiters that stop them from exceeding 40 km/h. They still need Driver CPC because although the bus can’t exceed 40 km/h, the law allows them to be driven at more than 45 km/h.
Vehicles being used by or under the control of the armed forces, police, a local authority or fire and rescue authority
You don’t need to have Driver CPC if you’re driving a vehicle that is used by, or is under the control of:
- the armed forces
- the police
- a public fire and rescue service
- a public ambulance service
- a local authority in an emergency civil protection situation
Driver A is employed by the local fire and rescue service. They can drive its vehicles without needing to have Driver CPC. However, if they work on a casual basis for a PCV or LGV operator, they will probably need Driver CPC when carrying out that work.
Vehicles being road tested or new or rebuilt vehicles which haven’t been put into service
You don’t need to have Driver CPC if you are road testing vehicles:
- after they’ve been repaired or serviced
- for technical development purposes
You also don’t need Driver CPC if the vehicle being driven is either new or rebuilt and has not yet been taxed.
Driver A works for a company that manufactures chassis for PCVs. They don’t need to have Driver CPC when they drive the chassis to another location so that a coach body can be built on it.
Driver B is employed to drive a car transporter delivering new cars (which have not yet been put into service) to garage forecourts. They need to have Driver CPC as the vehicle they’re driving has been put into service.
Driver C delivers newly registered and taxed lorries to customers after they’ve been painted in the customer’s livery. Vehicles count as being ‘put into service’ once they’re taxed, so they will need to have Driver CPC.
Vehicles driven to and from pre-booked appointments at official testing centres
You do not need Driver CPC if you drive vehicles to and from pre-booked appointments at official testing centres. This includes driving vehicles carrying a load that is needed for a laden braking test. A load may not be carried when driving to or from official testing centres in any other circumstances.
Driver A is employed as a mechanic by a bus operator. As part of their responsibilities they take empty vehicles that they’ve prepared to the local testing station (or authorised testing facility) for a pre-booked test.
Vehicles being used in emergencies or rescue missions
You don’t need to have Driver CPC if you’re driving a vehicle as part of an official response to a state of emergency or an officially-recognised rescue mission.
Driver A is a self-employed LGV driver contracted to deliver goods to local authority road maintenance depots. They need to have Driver CPC for their work. During severe flooding, the government declares a state of emergency. Driver A is instructed by the local council to deliver sandbags to shore up local flood defences and prevent a river from bursting its banks.
Driver A does not need to have Driver CPC while they’re delivering the sandbags as they’re part of an official response to a state of emergency. As they already have Driver CPC, they get no benefit from the exemption.
Driver B does not usually drive LGVs as they work in the planning department of the local council, but they’re involved in delivering sandbags during the state of emergency. They will need to hold the correct driving licence entitlement but won’t need Driver CPC as they’re covered by the exemption.
Vehicles being used for driving lessons or driving tests
You don’t need to have Driver CPC if you’re driving a vehicle in order to prepare for or take:
- a driving licence acquisition test
- Driver CPC tests
Driver A is taking driving lessons in a PCV, to prepare for a PCV licence acquisition test. They don’t need to have Driver CPC.
Driver B is an LGV driving instructor and sometimes drives a vehicle to show a particular technique to their trainees. They don’t need Driver CPC as this is happening during a driving lesson.
Non-commercial carriage of passengers or goods for personal use
You don’t need to have Driver CPC if you’re driving vehicles carrying goods, materials or passengers on a non-commercial basis (including your own personal use). ‘Non-commercial’ generally means that what you’re doing isn’t intended to generate a profit.
Driver A is an LGV driver who has hired a self-drive LGV to move home. They don’t need Driver CPC for this activity because they’re transporting their own goods for personal use.
Driver B is an LGV owner operator. They transport a friend’s new boat from the manufacturer to a holiday home on the coast. They do this as a favour and don’t charge a fee. They don’t need Driver CPC to do this because they’re using the vehicle for the non-commercial carriage of goods. They would need to satisfy any enforcement staff that their journey was non-commercial if they were stopped.
Driver C drives a minibus under a D1 (101 - Not for Hire or Reward) driving licence, transporting farm labourers around a farm on public roads between fields. They need Driver CPC as it’s not non-commercial carriage of passengers for personal use.
However, Driver C has ‘acquired rights’ so they won’t need to pass the Driver CPC initial qualification. They will need to complete 35 hours of periodic training by 10 September 2013 and every 5 years thereafter.
Vehicles carrying material or equipment to be used in the course of the driver’s work
You don’t need Driver CPC if you’re carrying equipment or material that you’ll use in the course of your work, provided that driving the vehicle is not the main part of your job.
- trade tools
- goods such as building materials or cables to be used by the driver in the course of their work
- extra crew like a mechanics mate or any other person needed for the job
Driver A is a mobile lorry fitter. They drive a vehicle from one operator’s site to another site where they take their tools from the vehicle to do their main activity of servicing lorries. They do not need Driver CPC. If they use engine diagnostic kit that’s fixed within the vehicle, they would also be covered by the exemption because the vehicle carries material or equipment for their use on site.
Driver B is a self-employed bricklayer and drives their lorry to a building site with a load of bricks. They unload the bricks and use them in the construction of a house. They don’t need to have Driver CPC because driving the lorry is not their main activity and they’re carrying materials for their use in the course of bricklaying.
Driver C drives a lorry with a generator fixed to the bed of the vehicle. Driving is not their main activity. They drive to road maintenance sites where the generator is used to power site equipment. They do various tasks at the site including monitoring the generator to make sure it’s operating correctly and they provide the site with a power supply. They don’t need to have Driver CPC.
Driver D works in the stores department of a company that supplies car parts. Occasionally, they need to drive one of the company’s lorries to deliver parts to retail outlets. Although the driving occupies only a very small amount of their working time, they need to have Driver CPC when making those deliveries because they’re driving a vehicle which is carrying materials for someone else’s use.
Driver E is a farmer. On an average of once a month, they transport some of their livestock to a local cattle market for auction. They need to have Driver CPC when doing this, as they’re not carrying materials or equipment for their use in the course of their work –they’re carrying cattle intended for sale.
Driver F is a farmer. Twice a month they drive a lorry on public roads around their farm, repairing fences. The vehicle carries the tools and materials they need to make these repairs. They don’t need to have Driver CPC because they’re carrying materials to be used by them in the course of their work repairing fences.
Driver G is employed by a farmer as a labourer. Twice a day they drive a minibus under a D1 driving licence, transporting workers from the local town to various fields on the farm. The driving activity takes up a relatively small proportion of their day. The majority of their shift is spent with the other workers picking crops. They need to have Driver CPC because they’re transporting the other labourers – they’re not carrying materials or equipment.
Driver H is a farm labourer. Their normal duties include transporting livestock and crops around the farm in a lorry. They need to have Driver CPC when driving on public roads while doing this as they’re carrying goods intended for sale, as opposed to materials or equipment.
Driver I is employed as a mobile crane operator. They drive the vehicle with the crane to a building site where they operate the crane helping to build a new factory. They don’t need to have Driver CPC because their main activity is not driving and they’re carrying tools and materials (the crane) to be used in the course of their work.
Driver J is employed as a mechanic by a transport company. As part of their responsibilities they drive a lorry containing tools and equipment needed to change wheels at the roadside. They don’t need to have Driver CPC because driving is not their main activity and they’re carrying tools and materials to be used in the course of their work.
Vehicles driven within 50 km of the driver’s base and not carrying passengers or goods
You don’t need to have Driver CPC if you’re not a professional driver but your work includes an incidental element of driving empty lorries, buses and coaches in the local area. You will need to satisfy the following conditions if:
- you are driving within 50 km of your base
- you’re not carrying passengers or goods
Driver A is employed as a mechanic by a local bus company. As part of their responsibilities they move empty buses between depots in the local area. They don’t need to have Driver CPC because driving is not their main activity and they aren’t carrying any passengers.
Driver B is the workshop manager for a road haulier. As part of their responsibilities they occasionally provide driving cover, delivering empty trailers to depots across the country. Although driving is not their main activity, they need to have Driver CPC when they’re driving distances more than 50 km from their base.
Driver C is employed as a valet (a person who parks and cleans vehicles) by a vehicle hire company and starts work at their employer’s premises. As part of their duties they deliver to and collect from customers in the local area.
Because they don’t drive more than 50 km from their employers’ premises, they don’t need to have Driver CPC as long as driving is not their main activity. However, if their duties mainly involve driving vehicles they do need to have Driver CPC.
Driver D is a mechanic who occasionally drives lorries as part of their work. The mechanic is exempt from having Driver CPC for journeys within a 50 km radius of their ‘driver’s base’. The ‘driver’s base’ is the place they start work on that particular day - it’s not restricted to one place.
The mechanic’s period on duty will start when they begin work after at least nine hours off-duty, whether that is at home or at work, or at a customer’s address. That address will continue to be their ‘driver’s base’ until he is off-duty for at least 9 hours.
Driver E is a bus depot engineer. If they work 1 day at depot A from 9am until half past midnight, and then returned to start work at a different depot B at 9am the next morning, the exemption would operate within a 50 km radius of the first bus depot A on both days. This is because the 2 periods of duty are separated by less than 9 hours off-duty.
However, if the engineer started work at depot B at 10am (rather than 9am) the next morning, the exemption would operate within a 50 km radius of depot B for the second period of duty, as they would have been off-duty for more than 9 hours before coming on duty at depot B.