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Guidance for driving examiners carrying out driving tests (DT1)

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
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10: The Driver CPC module 4 practical safety demonstration test

Guidance for driving examiners on the Driver CPC module 4 practical safety demonstration test.

10.01: Introduction

This chapter sets out the background and basic requirements of the Driver CPC module four practical safety demonstration test. It also gives detailed guidance on conducting the test.

10.02: Test requirements

The module four practical safety demonstration test is conducted in accordance with the provisions of EU Directive 2003/59/EC, The Vehicle Drivers (Certificates of Professional Competence) Regulations 2007 and The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations.

The practical safety demonstration test is a stand-alone practical test of 30 minutes duration focussing on vehicle safety and security, which covers categories C and D and all sub categories including trailers. Questions posed will be answered using a static vehicle which needs to meet current minimum test vehicle (MTV) requirements. Despite being static, the candidate may elect to make a rolling brake check. If a candidate elects to do this they must not be stopped from doing so. The same question topic areas are covered for categories C and D although questions and paperwork differ slightly.

Candidates will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge and ability in the following subject areas:

  • ability to load the vehicle with due regard for safety rules and proper vehicle use
  • security of the vehicle and contents
  • ability to prevent criminality and trafficking in illegal immigrants
  • ability to assess emergency situations
  • ability to prevent physical risk

10.03: General competence

The object of the test is to ensure that the candidate has a sound knowledge of the test subject areas and can show this in a practical way. Examiners should remember that many candidates will be more nervous during the test than when practising with their instructor or with a friend. A pleasant outgoing approach, not only in the waiting room and on the way to the vehicle, but throughout the test is particularly important to help candidates to relax.

Emphasis must be on the candidate demonstrating their ability to answer the questions. For example: the candidate will be expected to make a physical check of certain equipment fitted to the vehicle, rather than tell you where it is and how to operate it.

For LGV tests only, a piece of equipment will be required. This is the load demonstration securing trolley (LSDT). This will be used by candidates to demonstrate their ability to secure and un-secure loads using the equipment provided which includes the use of rope, chain, a webbing strap and a load tensioning bar.

Please note there is no eyesight check requirement for this test and no need for L plates.

10.04: Minimum test vehicle(MTV) requirements

The test must be conducted using a vehicle which meets minimum test vehicle requirements (MTV). However as the vehicle is being used in a static off road environment, there is no need for the vehicle to be loaded or fitted with additional mirrors for the examiner to use. This exception to the MTV requirements applies to the Driver CPC module four test only.

Examiners should note the Driver CPC module four test is not a licence acquisition test. Therefore a candidate may produce any vehicle for the Driver CPC test so long as it meets the MTV for the vehicle presented (categories C, D and all sub categories as applicable) which may also be subject to the exception detailed above.

If, during the course of the test, the examiner notices a problem with the vehicle (for example a defective bulb) as the test is being conducted off road the test must continue.

10.05: Explanation of form CPC4 and use of laminates

Clear and accurate completion of forms is very important to allow for accurate data collection. Forms should be completed in black ink.

The marking form consists of a hard laminate top copy with a three-part paper copy underneath. The supplied bespoke ‘CPC module four’ folded clipboard should be used at all times to ensure component parts line up accurately. As the candidate is encouraged to research the required information to pass the test, rather than learning a sequence of answers, the paper parts are relatively sparse in content. The individual questions and key knowledge indicators (KKI) have been removed, only the main subject topic areas are printed.

There are two sets of laminates - one for PCV tests and one for LGV. Each set contains eight different combinations which should be used in rotation, an equal number of times. Questions and KKIs are printed on the laminates only, with cut-outs where appropriate to allow the examiner to mark the form below with specific data relevant to the combination being used, question numbers, key candidate information and assessment marks. Some of the paper form markings require the laminate to be lifted and the form marked directly. Every effort must be made not to show the laminates to candidates, instructors or any person outside of the agency.

There are only two CPC4 paper form sets, which are clearly marked in the top right-hand corner either ‘LGV’ or ‘PCV’. The appropriate form must be selected for the type of test booked. LGV laminates must not be used with PCV paper forms and vice-versa.

To summarise the forms:

  • CPC4 Hard laminate. Marked LGV1 to LGV8 and PCV1 to PCV8
  • CPC4A Top copy - single sided. Sent to RSIS for data capture
  • CPC4B Middle copy - double sided. Examiners copy with report on reverse side
  • CPC4C Bottom copy - double sided. Candidate’s copy with test outcome and guidance notes

10.06: Assessment and control of the test

Examiners will be marking the positives. For example, confirming that practical and theoretical knowledge is present.

If you look at any laminate (combination) under each question, there are performance criteria. These are the key knowledge indicators (KKI) for the examiner to record the candidate’s response(s). If the candidate makes acceptable reference to the performance criteria listed, a mark is placed in the box located on the left side thus ‘/’. When all of the questions have been answered, the examiner totals the number of KKI boxes marked to produce the individual question score. The resultant score to each question will be in the form of a single mark placed in one of the scoring boxes on the right-hand side (‘/’), which are marked as percentages; 5, 10, 15 and 20. If a candidate scores 0 per cent or nothing, a zero percentage would result in the scoring boxes being left blank.

To summarise:

  • one KKI box marked equates to a five per cent question score
  • two KKI boxes marked equates to a ten per cent question score
  • three KKI boxes marked equates to a 15 per cent question score
  • four KKI boxes marked equates to a 20 per cent question score

The fifth question on all forms has ten KKI boxes. Each box equates to 2%. Examiners should add up the number of KKI boxes and place a mark in the appropriate question score box, rounding up or down as necessary. For example: seven KKI boxes marked (7 x 2 = 14) therefore mark the 15 per cent score box. Six KKI boxes = ten per cent, and so on.

Individual question scores are added together to produce a total score which is marked in the appropriately numbered box at the bottom of the page. The candidate must attain a minimum of 15% in all questions and a total score of at least 80% to pass. It is possible for a candidate to score 90% and not pass (20% in 4 questions and only 10% in the fifth).

Examiners should ensure their instructions are clear and understandable so that candidates know what is expected of them.


Examiners are required to ask candidates five main questions which can contain sub questions. In order to establish a candidate’s ability and knowledge it will often be necessary to prompt for an answer. Any prompt given must not contain clues or lead the candidate in any way.

Here are some examples of good and bad prompts:

Bad: Examiner: ‘What about if you needed to warn somebody?’ Candidate ‘Oh yes, I forgot, the horn. I could use the horn.’
Bad: Examiner: ‘would you check the baggage lockers as well?’ Candidate: ‘Oh yes, of course’ Good: Examiner: ‘Is there anywhere else you might think of looking?’ Candidate pauses: ‘..can’t think of anywhere..’ Good: Examiner ‘Are there any other checks you wish to make?’ Candidate’.. I don’t think so..’

It is very easy to lead the candidate - they must come up with the answers, not the examiner. In the examples above, the good prompts alert the candidate for more information, but do not tell them what to look for. The bad prompts virtually give the answer to the candidate, which examiners must be mindful not to do. Your prompting, in most cases, will control the candidate’s actions and responses and ultimately influence the overall decision of the test.

10.07: Health and safety considerations

Examiners must wear fluorescent vests at all times when outside of the office.

The examiner must manage the environment in which the test is being conducted. The candidate should be encouraged to use personal protective equipment if they have such items, especially when moving around and under the vehicle edges or compartments. Given the physical nature of this test, the vehicle will generally pose a potential for injury if a candidate does not act correctly. If there is the possibility of a candidate getting burnt or injured when opening an access panel, bonnet or engine cover the examiner must act quickly to verbally remind them to take extra care. Examiners should be vigilant and ever-mindful of the overall working environment.

Examiners should stand in the best possible position they can in order to keep proper control of the test and be able to hear what the candidate is saying balanced against health and safety considerations. For example, on an LGV test, it is best to talk to a candidate who is seated in a cab through the open window of a closed door.

Some questions ask the candidate to start the engine. A candidate may also wish to make a rolling brake check. In these cases the examiner must keep full control of the situation. Do not stand in front of or behind a vehicle when the candidate is expected to start the engine.

10.08: Time management - working alongside other tests

Module four practical safety demonstration tests will normally need to be conducted alongside vocational practical tests. There may be test slot time differences and examiners will need to manage use of the manoeuvring area accordingly.

10.09: Preparation for the test

The examiner should take on test the following:

  • CPC module four clipboard complete with a CPC4 laminate combination, the appropriate CPC4A assessment form (LGV or PCV)
  • pass certificate book (DSA11)
  • fire extinguisher picture card and any other picture card(s) relevant to the combination being used

Before you place the CPC4 laminate on top of the CPC4 paper form, enter the following details:

  • application reference
  • date
  • time of test
  • driver number (middle 6 digits)
  • DTC or authority code
  • staff or delegated Examiner number
  • test vehicle category type
  • mark as appropriate supervised/ interpreter/ late change

Do not write in the vehicle registration number until you see the one presented for test.

Place the CPC4 laminate on top of the CPC4 paper form. Enter the category type and combination number and all five question numbers, copied from the laminate. The candidates name and your name should not be written on the form to comply with the DVSA data transfer risk assessment.

Just before meeting the candidate the examiner should remove the laminate to allow for the candidate to sign the residency and insurance declaration (top left of CPC4A form). After the declaration is signed replace the laminate, when convenient, but before you arrive at the vehicle.

10.10: Meeting the candidate

The examiner should ask for the candidate by name, greet them pleasantly and then carry out the same licence check and identification procedures as laid out in chapter one.

10.11: Suspected impersonation

As per chapter one

10.12: Pre-brief

In an effort to create a more relaxed and informal atmosphere during the test, examiners are encouraged to introduce themselves and use the candidate’s first name, provided there’s no objection.

The following is a useable example:

‘My name is nnn. Would you like me to give you brief information regarding the test? …. This is the practical safety demonstration test. Would you like me to give you a brief overview of the test? If the candidate says yes then a ‘brief’ explanation can be given. For example, ‘the test will last about 30 minutes and when we get to the vehicle I will ask you questions based on five set topic areas. I would like to emphasise that this is a demonstration type test, therefore when I ask you questions I will be looking for you to show your knowledge and understanding.’

At the vehicle

“Now I should like to ask you some questions relating to your vehicle; remember, it is important that you demonstrate your responses, and not just tell me what you would do.”

10.13: De-brief

At the end of the test the examiner should offer the candidate a debrief, which is intended to give an overview of their performance. A debrief on a pass should concentrate on praising the topic areas in which the candidate did well and point out any areas (if any) where there was a slight weakness. For failed candidates, the examiner should refer to the CPC4C form (candidates copy) and comment very briefly on the topic areas where performance was unacceptable, making reference to reading the topic overview(s). If the candidate wants to discuss the test in greater detail, it should be explained that examiners are not permitted to do this. However, to be helpful, the examiner should suggest that their comments about the items marked be relayed (by the candidate) to their instructor, who should be able to provide the detail required.

An example debrief could take the form:

’…Referring to this form (CPC4C) you’ll notice that you didn’t score too well in the ‘security of your vehicle and contents’ topic area. You are advised to read the subject overview for this topic area… it may help you to discuss this with your instructor..’

Examiners must avoid being drawn into discussion on specific questions. Candidates should be encouraged to read the explanatory markings and to research appropriate resource materials. The DVSA official guides (publications) ‘Driving buses and coaches’, ‘Driving goods vehicles’ and ‘Driver CPC for professional bus and coach drivers’ contain all necessary learning resource materials to be successful in the module four practical safety demonstration test.

If the instructor/trainer/accompanying driver is present for the decision and de-brief, the examiner should ask:

‘would you like your instructor/ trainer/ accompanying driver to be present for the conclusion of the test?’

If the instructor/trainer/accompanying driver is not present the question should not be asked.

If at any time the instructor/ trainer/ accompanying driver comes over to the vehicle to listen to the conclusion of the test, and de-brief is to be given, the examiner must ask the candidate whether they want their instructor/ trainer/ accompanying driver present.

If the candidate elects not to have their instructor/ accompanying driver present for the decision and de-brief, then the examiner should ensure that the candidate’s request is complied with.

If in exceptional circumstances, an examiner decides not to give an explanation, full reasons for the decision should be noted on the CPC4B Rev. Where a candidate refuses the de-brief, the examiner should give their opinion as to why, or any explanation given by the candidate, on the back of the CPC4B. The ‘debrief’ box on the CPC4A should accordingly not be marked.

If a candidate argues or becomes abusive, or so upset that an explanation is obviously of no value, the examiner should abandon the attempt and a brief note should be made on the CPC4B Rev.

10.14: Disability - making reasonable adjustments

Due to the higher medical standard required for vocational licensing, it is unlikely you may encounter someone with a severe disability. You may find the candidate has some degree of restricted movement or declare special needs. There is no need to complete a D255, but it may be beneficial to make some discreet enquiries to ascertain how the candidate’s circumstances may affect their ability to complete the test in the same way as non-disabled driver.

Careful observation of the candidate may show the need to make ‘reasonable adjustments’.

For example, it is not considered acceptable for non-disabled person to enter or exit an LGV cab without applying the safety technique of ‘three points of contact’. However, a person with only one hand would clearly not be able to do this, but provided they make every effort to get in and out competently, this should be accepted. It is important therefore that the examiner exercises considered judgment in these exceptional circumstances and does not fail someone who can evidence ability to ‘do the job’.

10.15: End of test

Module four is not a licence acquisition test. Therefore the candidate’s licence must not be taken from them under any circumstances. If a licence were to be shredded the candidate would have to apply for a replacement licence.

10.16: Minimum driving age and young drivers scheme

Driving of vehicles in categories C and D at the age of 18

The Drivers Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) directive 2003/59/EC made provision for driving at the age of 18 under certain controlled conditions. This came into effect 10 September 2008 for PCV drivers and the 10 September 2009 for LGV drivers. This includes all sub-categories.

The minimum age to drive vehicles in categories C and D is reduced to 18 where the person driving:

  • has a CPC qualification authorising the driving of a vehicle in that class
  • is authorised by a document showing participation in a national vocational training (NVT) course to drive a vehicle in that class
  • is taking lessons as a provisional licence holder and / or taking a licence acquisition test to drive a vehicle in that class.

Candidates can take the practical driving and CPC tests in either order, but drivers under 21 years old cannot drive vehicles in categories C or D legally on the road without passing the relevant CPC tests (except if they are part of (b) above - an NVT course). This means it is possible for a candidate to pass a practical licence acquisition test, but not be legally allowed to drive on the road because they haven’t yet passed the CPC tests.

Ideally, for drivers under 21, it would be better to take and pass the module four before module three. But we cannot insist on this. Although it is the candidate’s responsibility to be fully qualified before driving on the road, it may help for examiners to be aware of the situation described above and tactfully explain this to young applicants where the need arises.

Section for Young Driver Scheme - removed.