Friday, November 16, 2018

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC)

What is Driver CPC?
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;
  • and
  • Vehicles used for non commercial purposes such as driving as an unpaid volunteer.
Learner permit

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
  • Eco-driving
  • 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.

Conditions attached to categories


Holders of a driving licence for Category A are entitled to drive motorcycles with
an engine output of any size.

Holders of a driving licence in category A2 are entitled to drive a motorcycle
with an engine output of 35kW or less, and a power to weight ratio not
exceeding 0.02kW per kg and not derived from a motorcycle of double its


Cars and trailers

If you hold a full category B licence, you may tow a trailer only if:

  • the total maximum authorised mass (MAM) of the trailer is 750kg or less;


  • the combined MAM of the vehicle and trailer is no more than 3,500kg.

When you use a car to tow a heavier trailer, you must hold a category BE
licence. A driver with a car, small van or 4x4 and trailer licence category BE can
draw a trailer where the MAM of the vehicle and trailer combination is greater
than 3500kg but less than 7000kg.

Heavier vehicles and trailers

You must hold a Category CE, C1E, DE or D1E licence if you want to tow a
heavier trailer. These are the licences that entitle you to drive the combinations
of the towing vehicles and the trailer (see page 12). Equivalent licences are EC,
EC1, ED or ED1.

Heavy goods vehicles and buses

Driving licences and categories of vehicles

You must hold a current driving licence or a learner permit before driving any
motor vehicle in a public place. You can drive only the type of vehicle for which
you hold a licence or learner permit. And you must carry your driving licence or
learner permit with you at all times when driving.

This section describes when and how to apply for or renew a driving licence. It
also describes the different categories of vehicle to which the licences apply.

Categories of vehicles and minimum age for a first learner permit

The following table outlines the types of vehicle you may drive under each
category of licence or permit, and the age you must reach before applying for a
first learner permit in the relevant category.

If you are under 16 years of age, you must not use any vehicle in a public place.

Design Gross Vehicle Weight (DGVW) is the term manufacturers use to describe
the weight of the vehicle together with the maximum load it is designed to
carry (including passengers, fuel, cargo and attachments). The DGVW is usually
shown on a metal plate attached to the vehicle by the manufacturer. The DGVW
may also be referred to as the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM).
You must know and understand the carrying capacity of your vehicle or you are
at serious risk of having a crash or causing harm. Overloading

About this site article

The rules of the road are for all road users – drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists,
horse riders, cyclists and people in charge of animals – for example, dog
walkers. You must have a satisfactory knowledge of these rules to get a driving
licence. Learning about road safety doesn’t stop once you pass a driving test. It
is an ongoing process.

The overall aim of this book is to promote safety, good driving practice and
courtesy in using our roads according to the law. It is an interpretation of the
law from a road safety point of view; it is not the law. If you have a query, you
should check the original legislation or ask a Garda.

You need to update your skills and knowledge and be aware of changes to road
traffic laws. This is why you should understand and obey these rules whether
you are learning to drive or have been driving for many years.

This book uses a ‘how to’ approach and covers many of the manoeuvres
identified as factors in road crashes. It uses three methods to set out clearly and
concisely how the law applies to all road users.

# It uses must and must not to draw attention to behavior the law clearly
demands or forbids.

# It uses terms such as should and should not to tell you how best to act in
a situation where no legal rule is in place.
# It illustrates and describes traffic lights, road markings and the signs used
to regulate traffic.

You play a vital role in preventing a crash. Knowing the rules of the road,
practising good driving skills and taking care as a road user will make road
safety policies more effective.

The more effective the policies, the greater the positive impact on you and your
family’s life, as well as the lives of others.

For example, a 5km/h difference in your speed could be the difference between
life and death for a vulnerable road user such as a pedestrian. Research shows
that when:
  • hit by a car at 60kmh, 9 out of 10 pedestrians will be killed;
  • hit by a car at 50kmh, 5 out of 10 pedestrians will be killed;
  • hit by a car at 30kmh, 1 out of 10 pedestrians will be killed.

There are a number of skills expected of all road users, drivers in particular.
Drivers are expected to have:
  • the ability to act responsibly;
  • the ability to foresee and react to hazards;
  • good concentration; and
  • a good level of driving control and expertise.

In the interest of road safety, you need to be aware of the importance of gaining
a good knowledge of this book and putting that knowledge into practice.
The book covers the road traffic laws currently in force, but it will be updated
regularly to take account of new laws.

If you fail to obey the rules of the road, this does not automatically mean you will
be prosecuted. But, if you are involved in a civil or criminal court case, your failure
to obey the rules may be considered when deciding whether or not you are liable.
Over the years, the law on the use of the road has changed, and it continues to
do so. At its most basic, the law on the use of the road protects road users, and
it does so by virtue of three basic rules.

Rule one

You should always be able to stop within a distance you can see to be clear. You
need to be able to control the vehicle you are driving to the extent that you can
stop without causing a problem for anyone else on the roadway.
The rule means you must be alert and exercise due care and attention at all times.

Rule two

You should always take the prevailing road conditions into account. This is
common sense and means you must take account of any factors that will have
an impact on your ability to drive safely and securely on the road. For example,
the weather, the type of road, the condition of the road, the time of day, the
type of the lighting.

Rule three

You should always drive taking other users of the road into account. You need
to take account of all of the things that can change on any given journey.
For example, the volume of traffic and the speed of the traffic. Are there
pedestrians, cyclists, animals? What are they doing? You cannot predict what
others will do, and you shouldn’t assume that you have priority. You need to
make full allowance for all other users on the road.

Some road users may choose to ignore the basic rules, but you do so at your
peril. Ignoring the rules may create a dangerous situation which puts you and
your passengers and other road users at risk. It may result in you breaking the
criminal law and being prosecuted. If you are involved in a civil claim, a judge
can hold you responsible.

It is in your interest to follow the basic principles of road safety when on the road.
Observing these three basic rules will help to keep you, your family, friends and
other road users safe.

If you do not obey road traffic law, you could face a fine, penalty points and a
conviction in court.

You might also be disqualified from driving and, in some cases, have to serve a
prison term.

The road safety policies and laws in the country will work with the support of all
road users.