Since the government introduced the Drivers Certificate of Professional Competence in the United Kingdom (CPC UK) in September 2008, many professional drivers somewhat perplexed as to why they need to prove they are competent. After all they have already proven themselves by passing their driving test in the first place, so why do professional drivers now need to prove themselves every five years?
As an example, a professional lorry driver with 30 years’ experience working in central London will have seen a lot a changes since his licence was acquired. Most notably would be the huge increase in the numbers of cyclists since the congestion charge was introduced and the infamous Boris Bike was launched. For drivers of large or long vehicles, cyclists can be an unseen hazard when they ride up the near side and enter the drivers blind spot. In fact this is such a big problem that more cyclists have been killed in the manner than any other type of collision.
It is situations such as this which the new drivers CPC courses aim to address. There is a lot to be said for thirty years driving experience, but as new hazards emerge, it’s better to keep our professional drivers updated and informed rather than ‘learning through experience’. CPC training courses address a number of issues including cyclists in the blinds spot and jaywalking pedestrians, amongst others. The course also covers other aspects of road safety, driver awareness, economical driving and so on.
In spite of the obvious benefits the CPC courses have in improving a driver’s professionalism, many professional drivers still see it as an unnecessary burden. Others feel that due to the fact that the course is attendance based, rather than test based, that it offers no real practical purpose as one is not tested on the information they’ve been given. Many self-employed drivers feel that they will be out of pocket as they will have to pay for the course themselves, and will not be earning whilst they are in attendance. Whatever your perception of the driver CPC training courses, the simple fact is they are here.
If you want to drive professionally in the UK or Europe, you need to acquire your driver qualification card, also known as a DQC. This is only gained by attending the 35 hours of CPC courses in every 5 year period. CPC training courses are being provided up and down the country by a number of accredited training agencies.