I want to take a few minutes of your time to discuss the Driver CPC. I’ve been a driver and am now a trainer, I know the general opinion of the Driver CPC Periodic Training scheme in the industry. I’m very aware of the experience you all possess and that you are professionals, with or without a piece of paper to prove it.

I’ve attended a number of Driver CPC courses over the course of my career. I’m on my third DQC now having gained the first by passing Module 2 and Module 4. My next card was thanks to Periodic Training courses, then I did a Hydraulically Operated Lorry Loader course to complete card 2. An ADR licence for my third was matched to my Transport Manger Qualification.

At each of these courses there was at least one driver who espoused the opinions below:

:: Its all a money grabbing exercise.

:: I’ve been doing the job for XX years and didn’t need to prove my competence before, why should I now.

:: Why should I sit here and listen to someone who has never done the job tell me how to do my job?

:: This is a waste of time, I could be working now!

:: Whats the point when I can just do the same module five times?

And of course, the more recent:

:: It’s all the EU, why do we have to bother anymore?

A driver getting into his Scania R Series.

Addressing the Driver CPC Grumbles

It’s a money grabbing exercise.

On the subject of it being a money grabbing exercise, I can’t answer that one directly. You need to see the value in the Driver CPC for it to stop being a tax and start being Continuous Personal Development, (CPD).

All I can really say here is that we are professionals in our industry, we have skills that others don’t as indicated by the 11,579 (44%) candidates nationally who couldn’t pass the HGV driving test last year. In PCV the pass rate is slightly lower at 55.6% but lower candidate levels mean only 590 potential drivers didn’t make the cut in 2020-2021.

Any other professional industry engages in CPD. Doctors attend conferences and workshops, read professional journals and partake in peer reviews of their work. The same is true for Architects, for Lawyers, for any job the public perceives as a professional role.

Why shouldn’t it be true for us?

I’ve been doing this job for XX years…

Firstly, don’t stop reading now. I’ve got a special appeal for you further down so please bear with me.

Second, and hating to answer a question with a question; without Googling tell me how many rules in the Highway Code have changed since the start of financial year 2021-2022? I can almost guarantee the number you chose will be too low.

The answer is 84. By the end of February 2022, 27% of the highway code will be different to what it was a year ago.

Next question, how many times in the past year have truck drivers been allowed to drive 11 hours in a day? I’ms sure most of you are answering none right now but the truth is twice. There have been two different drivers hours regulations relaxations in response to panic buying and the driver shortage. There has also been an ADR Licence extension.

Only by undertaking regular refresher training can we as drivers be expected to keep current on the developing rules which govern our daily work.

Then we look at the rapidly developing equipment we are using. In the 10 years I’ve been in the industry we’ve gone from Euro 5 to Euro 6. AdBlue has gone from being unheard of to widely used in all diesel vehicles, not just trucks. I’ve used three different generations of digital tachograph. When I started the national truck fleet was about 30% automatic, now its more like 3% manual.

It’s constantly evolving and if we want to remain professional we have to keep up with developments.

Why should I listen to someone who has never done the job?

This is homework time for you. You are correct that a large number of Driver CPC Periodic Training providers don’t have relevant experience. To get qualified to deliver these courses a trainer only has to demonstrate an understanding of the rules and an understanding of training techniques.

A lot of trainers are fork truck trainers who’ve read the material. Even more are ex-transport managers who have done a train the trainer course but have never sat behind the wheel of anything bigger than a BMW 3 Series.

This is where you need to shop around. There are a lot of these trainers out there, though the DVSA and JAUPT are working to reduce the number of trainers who are book smart but experience limited. Then there are an increasing number of trainers like me.

I did my time ‘at the coal face’. In fact I can take the speech marks out, I’ve actually pulled a load of coal in a walking floor so I’ve actually been at the coal face! I’ve done night trunks, I’ve done London every day for six months. I’ve tramped and I’ve run my own lorries.

I’m far from the only one who can claim this. Look into the trainers available and pick the one who has real world experience.

A driver completing a walk around check.

It’s a waste of time, I could be working now.

Without meaning to be brutal, only until your DQC expires. After that, if you carry on working you and your boss are both liable to Graduated Fixed Penalty Notices or potentially prosecution.

If you agree with Driver CPC or not, the fact is that you have to have it. So if you have to attend, doesn’t it make sense to pull maximum advantage from the time you are spending there?

Above I explained my Driver CPC journey to you. Don’t just opt for the same stuff you’ve done for the past 2, 3 cycles. There is a requirement that you undertake training but no requirement on what training you undertake.

A transport manager qualification is a great career development route. If you can’t spare the time to sit out of the truck for 2 weeks, an Operators Licence Awareness Training day gives you a better understanding of the role of the transport manager. Dangerous Goods Awareness is another interesting course that very few drivers select. It doesn’t give you a full ADR licence but it does satisfy the training requirements for carrying limited quantities.

Did you even know that you need training to carry LQ products?

First Aid at Work, Vulnerable Road Users, Safe use of Skip and Hook Loaders, Customer Service… The list goes on of courses other than the standard Drivers Hours and Use of Tachograph courses most drivers sit through.

Whats the point when I can do the same module 5 times?

This is no longer true. Not only do you have to do different courses in the five year period, you actually have to participate in the course. Gone are the days where you can do Drivers Hours five times and sleep through all of them.

As a trainer I now have to judge if you have participated in the course. If not, I’m unable to credit you with the 7 hours of Driver CPC Periodic Training. I’m also not allowed to deliver the same course to the same driver twice in a five year period unless there is a very good reason for it.

Reasons for repetition are simple:

:: The course is one that requires renewal more frequently than every 5 years. The Hydraulically Operated Lorry Loader course is an example of this.

:: There is a demonstrable need; You did load security three years ago but have had a spate of loads shifting in the past few months and need a refresher.

Other than that you have to select modules which don’t include the same content again and again.

It’s the EU, why do we have to bother anymore?

It’s true that the European Union was a driving force in introducing the Driver CPC. It was written into UK law when it came in and wasn’t part of the ‘Grand Repeal’ Bill which was passed when we left the EU. That means that Driver CPC is still the law of the land in the UK.

The UK government does have the power to modify the legislation. The thing is that the Driver CPC has had a positive impact on training related accident rates. It’s now an accepted way for operators to prove in an auditable way that they are fulfilling their undertaking to the traffic commissioner to ensure drivers remain current on the regulations that affect the job.

In short, its become too important to the industry to bring it to an end. The additional industry that has sprung up to service the Driver CPC scheme is also a massive employer and a significant plus on the government’s balance sheet too. There is a lot of tax involved in delivering training courses to the quarter of a million active truck and bus drivers in the UK.

While the scheme isn’t intended as a cash cow, it can’t be avoided that it generates a significant level of tax income.

A driver at the wheel of a truck with another lorry in front carrying a load.

Experienced Drivers; I need you on my courses.

I want to relate a quick story from the last Driver CPC course I delivered. I had a range of experience levels on the course from a chap who had been driving C+E since before I was born to a gentleman who had never driven anything bigger than the Zafira he arrived in. He got his C1 by acquired rights when he passed his driving test in 1995 but had never used it.

He wanted to get into the industry, no doubt incentivised by the increased rates of pay we now ‘enjoy’ due to the shortage.

We were doing Drivers Hours and Use of Tachographs and this newcomer to the industry was asking good questions and doing all he could to get benefit from the course. We came to the Use of Tachographs breakout session; a list of times and modes which had to be manually entered on the grid on the back of the tachograph paper.

I was doing my best to help this chap. But I had a training room with 16 people in it that I had to supervise and couldn’t devote 100% of my attention to one delegate. Our old campaigner stepped up, without me asking and took the time to pass on the benefit of his experience to the ‘newbie’.


Every driver on every course I’ve done has taken at least one thing away they didn’t know. The old charger in my example above had never heard of Ferry Mode. That was his gold star moment for the course.

My gold star moment was when I realised exactly why we need you highly experienced drivers on these courses. You are the custodians of the tribal knowledge, the guardians of the industrial secrets which make a good driver into a great driver.

I used to take great pride in the fact that there are just a couple of handfuls of drivers my age who can rope and sheet properly. I saw it as a competitive advantage over the other drivers I was competing against for the best jobs, the best pay and the best V8 Topline flagship.

I’ve left the driving workforce now to focus on my career as an instructor and trainer. It means the skills I’ve developed over a decade in the industry are lost to the sector until I can pass them on to my replacements. This is what is going to happen when you retire unless you can pass on your knowledge now.

We are an insular industry. Each driver has his own unit and rarely interacts with the same other drivers on a regular basis. Driver CPC is the chance for you to share the benefits of your experience with the next generation of drivers.

Please don’t let your skills and knowledge die when you retire.

Thank you for taking the time to read through my open letter to our industry. I hope that you’ve found at least one point in here that has caused you to at least think about the benefits of Driver CPC.


Nick Smith,

Driving Instructor & Driver CPC Trainer

RPS Driven Media Ltd.


After 10 years in the haulage industry, rising to running my own small fleet of vehicles, I left the cab behind to focus on training the next generation of drivers. I now run RPS Driven Media, give driving lessons as a DVSA Approved Driving Instructor and relate my experience of road haulage in Driver CPC courses throughout the year.

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