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Professional drivers

1. Prepare


You're on your way to becoming a safe, qualified professional driver of a truck or bus in Ireland.

But first, a few key points to help you.

You must:

  • be normally resident in Ireland to apply for a learner permit or driving licence
  • be medically fit to drive
  • hold a full, valid category B (car or light van) driving licence
  • have sat and passed the category C (truck), category D (bus) or category C and D (truck and bus) driver theory test before applying for a relevant category learner permit
  • be at least 18 years of age when applying for a first-time category C (truck) or C1 (small truck) learner permit or
  • be at least 21 years of age when applying for a first-time category D (bus) or D1 (minibus) learner permit
  • drive only the type of vehicle for which you hold a learner permit or driving licence
  • only drive a truck or bus when you are accompanied by someone who has held a full, valid driving licence in the same category for at least two years
  • carry your driving licence or learner permit with you at all times when driving.

When you need CPC

You will need Driver CPC if you work professionally for yourself as a sole transport operator or if you are employed by a company in a professional driving capacity. If you wish to work as a professional truck or bus driver you need both a full driving licence for the category of vehicle you wish to drive and a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence.

When you don't need CPC

If you drive any of the vehicles listed below, you do not need Driver CPC:

  • vehicles not allowed go more than 45 kilometres per hour
  • vehicles used or controlled by the Defence Forces, Civil Defence, the Fire 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
  • drivers of vehicles for non-commercial purposes, e.g. driving as a non paid volunteer, drivers of emergency or rescue vehicles
  • vehicles used by Registered RSA Approved Driving Instructors who are giving driving instruction for anyone who wants to obtain 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.

About acquired rights

Since 10 September 2014, all professional truck and bus drivers have been required to carry a driver CPC card.

However, if you were already working as a professional driver and obtained your bus driving licence on or before 9 September 2008 or truck driving licence on or before 9 September 2009, you have 'acquired rights'. This means you are automatically entitled to driver CPC.

If you got your bus driving licence after 9 September 2008 or your truck driving licence after 9 September 2009, you don't qualify for acquired rights. In these instances, to become a professional driver you must pass:

  • a theory test
  • a case study test
  • a practical driving test
  • a walkaround test

Even if you have acquired rights, to maintain your Driver CPC, you must complete 35 hours (42 hours if maintaining both truck and bus) of periodic training every five years (one day per year) following qualification.

Find out more about who can hold who can hold acquired rights.

Prepare the documents you need

Make sure you have the right form of identity to bring with you to your theory test. Otherwise you won't be able to take the test and will lose your test fee.

If you're doing your theory test at home your ID will be captured via webcam during the check in process.

Only the following forms of identity are acceptable:

  • a full, valid category B (car and light van) driving licence
  • public services card (with photograph)
  • passports (valid for international use only or up to maximum 12 months expired)
  • Irish passport cards (valid for EU/EEA travel, unexpired and in good condition)
  • national identity card from EU/EEA member states or Switzerland

You must be normally resident in Ireland to apply for a learner permit or driving licence.

If you want to apply for a learner permit or driving licence, you must be able to  prove that you were born in or have nationality of the European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland or were granted residency status in Ireland.

Prepare your vehicle

You must:

  • ensure that the steering, brakes, front and rear lamps, indicators, reflectors, rear view mirrors, safety belts, speedometer, tyres, windscreen wipers, horn and silencer are checked regularly
  • ensure that any truck or bus you drive has a valid Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Test (CVRT) certificate, if applicable
  • display valid L-plates at the front and rear of any truck or bus you drive
  • ensure that any truck or bus you drive displays valid insurance and motor tax discs.

Read more about vehicle safety and maintenance standards.