Getting your CPC

Questions answered on Driver CPC: who needs it, how to get it, how to keep it.

What is Driver CPC?

Driver CPC is a Certificate of Professional Competence issued to drivers who are entitled to hold one. It was first introduced across the EU in 2008 for professional bus drivers and 2009 for professional truck drivers.  Its objective was to set and maintain high standards of road safety, health and safety and driving among professional drivers of buses and trucks.

IMPORTANT – A Driver CPC Qualification Card is not a driving licence. In order to drive a truck or bus you must:

  • be the holder of a current valid driving licence for the category of vehicle you are driving, and
  • be the holder of a current valid driver’s CPC card for the category of vehicle you are driving professionally.

Once you are fully CPC qualified you can apply for and receive your Drivers CPC card. Both your driving licence and Drivers CPC qualification card must be carried by you whenever you are driving your truck or bus professionally.

Three key aims:

Ensuring all professional drivers have good driving and safety standards and that those standards are maintained throughout their career.

Creating a common standard for the training and testing of drivers throughout the EU Reducing fatalities and serious injuries on Irish roads. The RSA’s target is for Ireland to have one of the lowest casualty rates in Europe.

The Driver CPC and you

Professional drivers fall into two categories from a Driver CPC perspective:

  1. those who were already working as professional drivers when the scheme was put in place, and
  2. those who are new to the profession.

'Acquired rights' to Driver CPC

Acquired rights to a Drivers CPC applies to those drivers who were already working as professional drivers when the scheme was put in place.  If you got your bus licence on or before the 9 September 2008, or your truck licence on or before 9 September 2009, you are automatically entitled to Driver CPC, known as “acquired rights”.

To keep your Driver CPC, you must then do 35 hours of periodic training over the next five years. Training is on a one-day-per-year basis (minimum of 7 hours each day).

Periodic training is compulsory and is designed to help you be:

  • A better safer and socially responsible professional driver
  • More environmentally aware and cost conscious
  • Physically healthier

In Ireland CPC Periodic refresher training is only provided by RSA approved trainers at RSA approved training centres.  When booking training check to make sure your trainer and centre are approved.  Unapproved training will not count towards your Drivers CPC.

If you don't qualify for 'acquired rights' for Driver CPC

If you obtained your bus licence on or after 10 September 2008 or your truck licence on or after 10 September 2009 you don’t qualify for acquired rights and must obtain your ‘initial CPC’.

To become a professional bus or truck driver and obtain your ‘initial CPC’ you first must pass:

  1. The new truck, the new bus or the new Combined Truck and Bus theory test as appropriate.  (This new test permits successful candidates to apply for their learner permit as well as counting as a Pass for CPC Step 1)
  2. Two-hour case study theory test (Known as CPC Step 2)
  3. The standard 90-minute driving test (Known as CPC Step 3)
  4. 30-minute practical test (Known as CPC Step 4)

Please note: If you obtained your bus or truck learner permit before 30th September 2014 you will need to complete the CPC Step 1 theory test (set out at No 1 above).

In addition, you must then maintain your Driver CPC by completing the periodic refresher training of at least 35 hours of training over each five year period.  If you are maintaining both a bus and a truck CPC you must complete 42hours training over each five year period.

Test locations

The Driver CPC bus/truck test and practical test can be carried out in any existing bus/truck test location. But not every type of vehicle can be tested at all centres. Find out which type of vehicle that can be tested in each test centre.

Theory tests

The Driver CPC theory tests are part of the Driver CPC process, which is mandatory for all new professional drivers.

  • Step 1: Drivers must first pass the relevant theory test and obtain their learner permit
  • Step 2: Drivers then must take pass their CPC Case study theory test/s.

CPC Step 1:

You have a number of options depending on what licences you want to get and what you have already completed.

Option 1 – applies for either a bus or truck theory test This test consists of 100 multiple choice questions - you must correctly answer at least 74 of them to pass either the bus or the truck exam.

 Option 2 – applies for either a bus and truck theory test This test consists of 140 multiple choice questions if you want to drive buses and trucks, you may opt to take the combined bus and truck exam which costs €84. You must correctly answer at least 104 to pass this combined bus and truck exam.

If you have already passed either one of the new bus or truck theory tests since 30th September 2014 - you may then choose to add the alternate category by passing the bus module or truck module test (as appropriate) the cost of the Module test is €45. These Module tests consist of 40 questions to pass you must correctly answer at least 30.

CPC Step 2:

3 case studies are short scenarios that describe various situations a driver might face. There are 15 questions in each case study (45 in total). To pass, you must correctly answer 28 of the 45 questions - a minimum of 5 questions on each case study.

To prepare for any of these theory tests..

Study material including advice on how to prepare for both the new exams and the CPC case study tests is available from Prometric Ireland see www.theorytest.ie.

 The CPC practical test

This test is conducted in the driving test centre and is usually taken directly after the driving test. A vehicle is required for this session. It is a practical knowledge test lasting 30 minutes. It covers areas such as

  • safety
  • passenger comfort 
  • legal matters relating to driving
  • vehicle loading and stability
  • ability to deal with an emergency
  • physical risks involved in driving

Booking a test

Driver CPC theory test: Lo-call: 1890 60 61 06 or go to www.theorytest.ie.

 Driver CPC driving and practical test: Lo-call: 1890 50 60 80 or go the RSA’s online booking facility.

If you wish, you can attend training in RSA-approved training centres to help you prepare for your Driver CPC examination.

Proof of certification

Drivers with acquired rights:

For those who held ‘acquired rights’ - your licence will have an issue date before the September deadlines in the relevant category as proof of your acquired rights. When you complete your periodic training and apply for one, you will be issued with your CPC qualification card.  Check this carefully as if you did not already hold a licence before the start dates you do not hold a drivers CPC and any periodic refresher training completed will not count – you must obtain the correct Drivers CPC first.

New drivers:

When you have passed your Driver theory test, a case study test and the driving test, you will be issued with an application form by your driver tester.  Complete and return the form to the Driver Education Section, RSA, Primrose Hill, Ballina, Co Mayo.  You can generally expect to receive your card within 10 working days.

Exemptions

Driver CPC certification is not required for drivers of vehicles used:

  • For non-commercial purposes, eg driving as a volunteer; drivers of emergency or rescue vehicles eg Gardai, Defence forces, Ambulance and Irish Prison service.
  • For a registered RSA approved Driving Instructors who are giving driving instruction.
  • In the course of someone’s work, provided that driving the vehicle is not the driver’s principal occupation, eg, a plumber using a light truck to transport their materials.
  • Vehicles with a maximum speed not exceeding 45 km/h

If you have any queries about whether your driving duties require you to hold a drivers CPC check with your Transport Manager, legal advisor or consult the RSA.

More information on Driver CPC

Driver Education Section
Road Safety Authority
Moy Valley Business Park
Primrose Hill
Ballina
Co Mayo
Email: cpc@rsa.ie
Tel: 096 25015