Driver CPC is a Certificate of Professional Competence for professional bus
drivers (categories D1, D1E, D and DE) and professional truck drivers (categories
C1, C1E, C and CE).
Equivalent licences are D1, ED1, D, ED, C1, EC1, C and EC.
Driver CPC was introduced across the EU in 2008 for professional bus drivers and
in 2009 for professional truck drivers. The three key aims are to:
- ensure that all professional drivers have good driving and safety standards and that those standards are maintained throughout their career;
- create a common standard for the training and testing of drivers throughout the EU; and
- reduce fatalities and serious injuries on Irish and European roads.
The Driver CPC and you
New Professional Driver
Since 30 September 2014, in order to become a professional bus or truck driver,
you must take the following five steps:
Step 1: Pass a driver theory test and get a driver theory test certificate for
category C or D or both as appropriate;
Step 2: Get a learner permit in the relevant category;
Step 3: Pass a 2-hour case study theory test (note Step 2 must be
completed before Step 3 if under 21 when applying for a C or CE licence
or under 24 when applying for a D or DE licence);
Step 4: Pass a 90-minute practical driving test, including questions and
demonstrations on how you would carry out a series of checks; and
Step 5: Pass a 30-minute practical test.
Once you have completed these steps, you must complete an application form
(available from the RSA) to apply for your Driver CPC qualification card. The
driving test (Step 3) and practical CPC tests (Step 4) are carried out at RSA
driving test centres and are usually taken one after the other.
Already a Professional Driver
If you were already a professional bus driver or holder of category D licence
on 10 September 2008 or a professional truck driver or holder of a Category C
licence on 10 September 2009, you are automatically entitled to Driver CPC. This
is called ‘acquired rights’.
In order that professional drivers maintain their rights, they must complete 35
hours of periodic refresher training every five years.
Where a professional driver seeks to maintain rights to drive both buses and
trucks professionally, they must complete 42 hours of periodic refresher training
every five years. Periodic training must include a minimum of 7 hours training
in a single day each year.
Drivers of the following vehicles are exempted, that is, the driver will not need
to hold or carry a CPC:
- Vehicles not allowed to exceed 45 kilo metres per hour;
- Vehicles used or controlled by the armed forces, civil defense, the fire service,the prison service and forces responsible for maintaining public order;
- Vehicles undergoing road tests for technical development, repair or maintenance, or new or rebuilt vehicles which have not been put into service;
- Vehicles used in states of emergency or for rescue missions;
- Vehicles used for driving lessons for anyone who wants to get a driving licence or a CPC;
- Vehicles used for carrying passengers or goods for personal use and not for business;
- Vehicles carrying materials or equipment that the driver uses as part of their work, as long as driving the vehicle is not the driver’s main activity;
- Vehicles used for non commercial purposes such as driving as an unpaid volunteer.
A learner permit is issued to allow a person to learn to drive. Before you apply
for your learner permit you must pass your driver theory test (see pages 17–18).
In the interest of your safety and that of other road users, you must meet certain
conditions attached to the learner permit, while you are driving. See Section 2
for more details.
You must have a current learner permit to learn to drive and to take your driving
test. Your permit must be for the same category of vehicle as the one you will
use in your test.
Driver theory test
The driver theory test applies to anyone applying for a first learner permit in any
category. Note that it will be regarded as a first learner per permit in the category if
an earlier learner permit has expired by 5 years or more
The test is designed to check your knowledge of topics such as:
- Rules of the Road
- Risk perception
- Hazard awareness
- Good driving behaviour
The test is also designed to check your knowledge and understanding of all of
the above and of ‘safety loading’ and ‘vehicle security’.
The CPC driver theory tests for truck and bus drivers have been merged with the
Driver CPC Step 1 exam. There is also an option to sit both the truck and bus
theory tests together.
The test involves answering questions on a computer in a test centre. It is
designed for people who have little or no experience of using computers as
well as those who do. It is carried out by the Driver Theory Test Service. Those
with special needs or disabilities can request a reader or recorder facility to help
them complete the test.
Applying for a first learner permit
When you apply for your learner permit, you must attend in person at any
one of the National Driver Licence Services (NDLS) centres located around the
country. You must allow your photograph to be taken for the purposes of your
application when you apply for your licence at the NDLS centre. To apply for
a learner permit, you must be able to demonstrate that you normally live in
Ireland. If you are studying or working abroad, you may still be considered
normally resident in Ireland provided you return here regularly.
Eyesight and medical reports
You can get eyesight and medical report forms from the National Driver
Licence Service website,
- A registered doctor or ophthalmic optician must fill in the eyesight report form.
- You must then sign it in front of them.
- A registered doctor must complete the medical report form.
- You must then sign it in front of them.
When you must supply a medical report
Not all applicants need to supply a medical report. However, you must supply
one if any of the following statements applies to you.
- You are applying for a learner permit in any of the categories C1, C, D1,D, C1E, CE, D1E or DE.
- You will be 70 years of age or more on the first day the learner permit isbeing granted.
- You have any of the conditions listed in Appendix 1 at the back of this book.
- You are taking drugs or medications that are likely to affect your driving.