Guidance

Check if you need Driver CPC to drive a lorry, bus or coach

Find out if you need the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) to drive a lorry, bus or coach, or if you could be exempt.

Who needs to have Driver CPC

You must have Driver CPC if you drive a lorry, bus or coach as the main part of your job. You must do 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to keep it.

You don’t need Driver CPC if you:

  • don’t want to drive for a living, for example, you want to drive for a hobby
  • drive in other certain situations, such as taking your vehicle for a pre-booked annual test (MOT)

You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving professionally without Driver CPC.

About these examples

These examples tell you if the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency thinks you need Driver CPC.

However, only a court can make a decision on Driver CPC rules. Get legal advice if you’re not sure if you need Driver CPC.

Non-commercial carriage of passengers or goods for personal use

You don’t need Driver CPC if you’re driving vehicles carrying goods, materials or passengers on a non-commercial basis for personal use.

Example 1: self-drive lorry to move home

A lorry driver hires a self-drive lorry to move home.

They don’t need Driver CPC, as they’re transporting their own goods for personal use.

Example 2: transporting something as a favour

A lorry owner-operator transports a friend’s new boat from the manufacturer to a holiday home. They do this as a favour and don’t charge a fee.

They don’t need Driver CPC, as it’s non-commercial carriage of goods.

They would need to satisfy any enforcement staff that their journey was non-commercial if they were stopped.

Example 3: transporting farm labourers around a farm

A driver has a category D1 driving licence and drives a minibus (category D1) with a ‘101 - not for hire or reward’ driving licence code. They transport farm labourers between fields, using public roads.

They need Driver CPC, as it’s not non-commercial carriage of passengers.

Carrying material or equipment for use in your work

You don’t need Driver CPC if you’re carrying equipment or material that you use in the course of your work, and driving the vehicle isn’t your main activity.

Example 1: mobile lorry fitter

A driver is a mobile lorry fitter. They drive a vehicle from an operator’s site to another site where they take their tools from the vehicle to do their main activity of servicing lorries.

They don’t need Driver CPC.

If they use an engine diagnostic kit that’s fixed within the vehicle, they still don’t need Driver CPC, as the vehicle is carrying material or equipment for their use on-site.

Example 2: self-employed bricklayer

A self-employed bricklayer 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 Driver CPC, as driving the lorry isn’t their main activity and they’re carrying materials for their use in the course of bricklaying.

Example 3: power generator fixed to the bed of a vehicle

A driver drives a lorry with a power generator fixed to the bed of the vehicle, but driving isn’t 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 working correctly.

They don’t need Driver CPC.

Example 4: delivering car parts to retail outlets

A driver works in a car parts supply company’s stores department. Occasionally, they need to drive one of the company’s lorries to deliver parts to retail outlets.

They need Driver CPC, even though the driving takes up a small amount of their working time, as it’s carrying materials for someone else’s use.

Example 5: farmer transporting livestock for auction

A farmer transports some of their livestock to a local cattle market for auction around once a month.

They need Driver CPC, as they’re not carrying materials or equipment for their use in the course of their work -they’re carrying livestock intended for sale.

Example 6: farmer driving a lorry to repair farm fences

A farmer drives a lorry on public roads around their farm twice a month to repair fences. The vehicle carries the tools and materials they need to make these repairs.

They don’t need Driver CPC, as they’re carrying materials to be used by them in the course of their work repairing fences.

Example 7: farm labourer transporting other workers

A farm labourer drives a minibus (with a D1 driving licence) twice a day to take other farm workers from the local town to various fields on the farm. The driving takes up a small part of their day - most of their time is spent picking crops.

They need Driver CPC, as they’re transporting other labourers - they’re not carrying materials or equipment.

Example 8: farm labourer transporting livestock and crops

A farm labourer drives a lorry on public roads around a farm to transport livestock and crops.

They need Driver CPC, as they’re carrying goods intended for sale - they’re not carrying materials or equipment.

Example 9: mobile crane operator

A mobile crane operator drives the vehicle with the crane to a building site, where they operate the crane help build a new factory.

They don’t need Driver CPC, as their main activity isn’t driving and they’re carrying tools and materials (the crane) to be used in the course of their work.

Example 10: mechanic driving a lorry with tools and equipment

A mechanic employed by a transport company drives a lorry containing tools and equipment they need to change wheels at the roadside.

They don’t need Driver CPC, as driving isn’t their main activity, and they’re carrying tools and materials to be used in the course of their work.

Pre-booked vehicle tests

You don’t need Driver CPC to drive vehicles to and from pre-booked appointments at official testing centres. The vehicle can only carry a load if it’s needed for a laden braking test.

Example

A driver is employed as a mechanic by a bus operator. They drive empty vehicles that they’ve prepared to an authorised testing facility for a pre-booked annual test.

They don’t need Driver CPC.

Driving lessons or driving tests

You don’t need Driver CPC if you’re driving a vehicle to prepare for or take:

  • a driving licence acquisition test
  • Driver CPC tests

Example 1: learning to drive a coach

The driver is taking driving lessons in a coach, to prepare for a category D licence acquisition test.

They don’t need Driver CPC.

Example 2: lorry driving instructor

A lorry driving instructor sometimes drives a lorry to show a particular technique to their trainees.

They don’t need Driver CPC, as this is happening during a driving lesson.

Road-testing, and new or rebuilt vehicles not in service

You don’t need Driver CPC if you’re road-testing vehicles for:

  • repair or maintenance purposes
  • technical development purposes

You also don’t need Driver CPC if the vehicle being driven is either new or rebuilt and hasn’t yet been taxed.

Example 1: coach chassis manufacturer

A driver works for a company that manufactures coach chassis.

They don’t need Driver CPC when they drive the chassis to another location so that a coach body can be built on it.

Example 2: delivering new cars on a car transporter

A driver is employed to drive a car transporter delivering new cars (which have not yet been put into service) to garage forecourts.

They need Driver CPC, as the vehicle they’re driving (the transporter) has been put into service.

Example 3: delivering newly-registered and taxed lorries

A driver delivers newly-registered and taxed lorries to customers after they’ve been painted in the customer’s livery.

They need Driver CPC, as vehicles count as being ‘put into service’ once they’re taxed.

Armed forces, emergency services, local councils and prison services

You don’t need Driver CPC if you’re driving a vehicle used by or 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
  • the prison service
  • a company providing or running a prison or young offender institution

Example

A driver is employed by the local fire and rescue service.

They don’t need Driver CPC to drive its vehicles.

However, if they work on a casual basis for a lorry or bus operator, they’ll probably need Driver CPC for that work.

Empty vehicles within 62 miles of your base if driving isn’t your main job

You don’t need Driver CPC if you meet all of these conditions:

  • your main work activity isn’t driving lorries, buses or coaches
  • the vehicle is being driven within a 62 mile (100km) radius of your base
  • you’re the only person in the vehicle
  • the vehicle is empty, except for equipment (including machinery) permanently fixed to it

Example 1: mechanic moving empty buses between depots

A mechanic employed by a local bus company moves empty buses between depots in the local area.

They don’t need Driver CPC, as driving isn’t their main activity, and they’re not carrying any passengers.

Example 2: workshop manager occasionally delivering empty trailers

A workshop manager for a road haulier occasionally provides driving cover, delivering empty trailers to depots across the country.

They need Driver CPC if they drive more than 62 miles (100km) from their base, even though driving isn’t their main activity.

Example 3: a valet who collects and delivers from customers

A valet (a person who parks and cleans vehicles) employed by a vehicle hire company starts work at their employer’s premises. As part of their duties, they deliver to and collect from customers in the local area.

They don’t need Driver CPC, as they don’t drive more than 62 miles (100km) from their employers’ base, and driving isn’t their main activity.

If their duties mainly involve driving vehicles, they need Driver CPC.

Example 4: mechanic who occasionally drives lorries

A mechanic occasionally drives lorries as part of their work.

They don’t need Driver CPC for journeys within a 62 mile (100km) 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 9 hours off-duty - whether that’s at home, at work, or at a customer’s address. That address will continue to be their ‘driver’s base’ until they’re off-duty for at least 9 hours.

Vehicles not allowed to exceed 28 miles per hour

You don’t need Driver CPC if the vehicle isn’t allowed to exceed 28 miles per hour (45 kilometres per hour (km/h)) on any road.

Example

A driver works for a city bus company. Its buses are fitted with speed limiters to stop them from exceeding 40km/h.

They need Driver CPC, as the law allows the bus to be driven at more than 45km/h, even though it’s been limited to 40km/h.

EU nationals and people employed by a company based in the EU

You need Driver CPC if you drive a lorry, minibus, bus or coach and you’re either:

  • a national of any EU country
  • a national of a country outside the EU, but work for an organisation based in the EU

Example 1: EU national working in the EU

A Dutch national (the Netherlands is in the EU) drives a lorry in the EU.

They need Driver CPC.

Example 2: non-EU national working for an EU company

A Turkish national (Turkey isn’t in the EU) works for an Austrian coach operator (Austria is in the EU). They drive in the EU.

They need Driver CPC.

Example 3: EU national working for a non-EU company

A Polish national (Poland is in the EU) works for a Russian tour operator (Russia isn’t in the EU). They only drive coaches in Russia.

They don’t need Driver CPC.

If their employer starts running tours from Russia into the EU, they will need Driver CPC, because they’re an EU national.

Example 4: non-EU national working for a non-EU company

A Turkish national (Turkey isn’t in in the EU) works for a Turkish haulage company.

They don’t need Driver CPC, even when they drive into the EU.

Emergencies or rescue missions

You don’t need Driver CPC if you’re driving a vehicle as part of:

  • an official response to a state of emergency
  • an officially-recognised rescue mission

Example 1: self-employed lorry driver contracted to the local council

A self-employed lorry driver is contracted to deliver goods to the local council’s road maintenance depots.

They need Driver CPC.

During severe flooding, the government declares a state of emergency. The driver is told by the local council to deliver sandbags to prevent a river from bursting its banks.

They don’t need Driver CPC while they’re delivering the sandbags, as they’re part of an official response to a state of emergency.

Example 2: council worker who doesn’t usually drive lorries

A driver doesn’t usually drive lorries, as they work in the local council’s planning department. They’re told to deliver sandbags during the state of emergency.

They don’t need Driver CPC, but will need the correct driving licence to drive a lorry.

Published 7 May 2013
Last updated 28 June 2016 + show all updates
  1. Clarified the wording of the exemption for vehicles carrying material or equipment to be used in the course of the driver’s work.
  2. Updated the examples, with vehicles driven within 50 km of the driver’s base and not carrying passengers or goods being increased to 100 km, and vehicles used by or under the control of the prison service being added.
  3. Updated the examples following new exemptions coming into force on 13 November 2013.
  4. Added information about vehicles driven to and from pre-booked appointments at official testing centres and vehicles driven within 50 km of the driver’s base and not carrying passengers or goods.
  5. Added the specific examples of Driver CPC exemptions with a note that some are being rerviewed by the Driving Standards Agency.
  6. Removed the specific examples of Driver CPC exemptions as they are being reviewed by the Driving Standards Agency.
  7. First published.