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Professional drivers

10. Compliant driving and staying qualified


Your CPC card in conjunction with your full licence allows you to operate as a professional driver in the relevant licence category.

If you passed your driving test in a vehicle with an automatic transmission then your licence only covers you to drive automatics in that category.

Special conditions

You cannot act as a sponsor or accompanying driver in the relevant licence category for any learner driver for two years after getting your full licence in that category.


If you are still a category B (car and light van) novice driver:

  • you must display N-plates on any vehicle you drive
  • a lower threshold of seven penalty points leading to disqualification usually applies
  • a lower blood alcohol concentration threshold applies (20mg).

If you are driving professionally:

  • a lower blood alcohol concentration threshold applies (20mg).

Mandatory RSA training

To maintain your Driver CPC card, every five years you must:

  • attend one seven-hour driver CPC training module per year with an RSA-approved CPC training organisation (35 hours over five years)
  • attend a total of 42 hours of driver CPC training modules if you hold bus and truck driver CPC and wish to maintain both.

In each case, training must last for one day (a minimum of seven hours per day) and is compulsory. CPC periodic refresher training is only provided by RSA-approved trainers at RSA-approved training centres. When booking your training module, make sure your trainer and training centre are approved. Unapproved training will not count towards your driver CPC.

Safe driving now that you're qualified

Remember, now that you're a professional driver, you're even more responsible for your safety and the safety of others. Your CPC card along with your full licence in the required category allows you to operate as a professional truck driver, but you should never stop learning more driving skills and road safety awareness. The Road Safety Authority offers a range of learning materials that will help you develop your road safety awareness and skills.

Watch the video on YouTube  
You'll find lots more Better Safer Driver videos on our YouTube channel.

All about the N-Plate

Research shows that the highest period of risk for a driver is the first two years following qualification.

You must display N-plates on any vehicle you drive for a period of two years from qualification. This means that if it is less than two years since you got your category B (car and light van) driving licence, you must also display N-plates on any truck you drive until that two-year period ends.

 N-plates are:

  • rectangular plates or signs bearing the letter N
  • not less than 15 centimetres high in red on a white background
  • clearly positioned to the front and rear of the vehicle you are driving.

Full guidance on the use of N-plates.

Penalty points for novice drivers

Penalty points are designed to encourage safe driving and reduce casualties on our roads. There are  62 offences which attract penalty points on a driving licence. These include:

  • speeding
  • mobile phone use
  • dangerous overtaking
  • not wearing a seatbelt.

A penalty point is essentially a formal reprimand by the Gardai. This is endorsed on your driving licence record and shows that you are guilty of a specific driving offence.

For novice drivers, the penalty points threshold is lower than for other drivers

If, while driving with a learner permit or as a novice driver, you accumulate seven penalty points in a three-year period, you can be automatically disqualified from driving for six months.

For fully qualified drivers, this threshold is 12 penalty points.

Full details of the penalty points system.

Drink driving laws for novice drivers

The blood alcohol concentration threshold for novice drivers is lower than for other fully qualified drivers. Novice drivers detected with a blood alcohol concentration between 20mg and 80mg can face disqualification from driving for three months and a fine of €200.

For fully qualified drivers, the equivalent blood alcohol concentration is between 50mg and 80mg.

Full details of penalties for drink driving.