New qualification for professional bus and coach drivers

UK has launched a new qualification, the Driver CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence), for all professional bus and coach drivers. Drivers wishing to enter the industry will now need to be awarded the Driver CPC initial qualification as well as holding a relevant vocational driving licence.

The exam for the CPC initial qualification involves: a new Driver CPC theory test involving case studies, and a new Driver CPC practical test which requires candidates to demonstrate their knowledge of vehicle safety.

Drivers will be able to train and take these CPC exams in parallel with learning to drive buses and coaches and the licence acquisition tests, minimising any costs or delays. Existing drivers will not be required to take the initial qualification. However, they will be required to complete 35 hours of periodic training by 2013 and every five years thereafter if they wish to continue driving professionally. The Driver CPC is being introduced across the European Union to provide better-qualified and trained drivers to meet the ever-changing needs of the passenger transport and road haulage sectors, by recognising and accrediting the knowledge and skills required to drive professionally.

It aims to improve road safety and make savings for the industry by reducing the number of accidents, encourage fuel-efficient driving and reducing vehicle wear and tear. The second phase of the Driver CPC scheme which will cover professional drivers of lorries and heavy goods vehicles will be introduced in September 2009.

The Chief Executive of the Driving Standards Agency, Rosemary Thew, said: "The new Driver CPC qualification has been developed to raise and maintain the standards of bus, coach and subsequently lorry drivers. Both bus and coach driving are professions with a high level of responsibility. The different elements of the new test in addition to the ongoing training thereafter will require drivers to demonstrate their knowledge and skill in a real life setting. Better trained drivers should help to avoid the costs, both human and financial, of road accidents in the UK.

Further information on the training syllabus and test is also available on http://www.transportoffice.gov.uk/cpc